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”

14 Comments

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?

6 Comments

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.

19 Comments

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

24 Comments

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

4 Comments

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

Barbados Environment Ministers have been making the same speech for 15 years. Here it is…

“…strengthen enforcement measures and encourage national laws and regulations regarding chemical management.”

… Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe on February 5, 2009 speaking at the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Workshop, Bridgetown Barbados (link here). A year and a half later Lowe and the DLP government have accomplished less than nothing for the environment.

Bull crap Speech by Environment Minister Denis Lowe on February 5, 2009

Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe making a speech...

Okay folks… here we are coming up on a year and a half after Environment Minister Denis Lowe again again told us how important environmental laws and regulations are in preventing harm to our people. Same speech every year for the past 15 years at least. Doesn’t matter who is Environment Minister, they just dig out that same old speech and let ‘r rip. The Bajan news media reports it like it’s real news and then they go back to their pate and champagne at the conferences.

Okay Doctor Lowe… where’s the environmental legislation you’ve been promising since 2006 when you were an underdog candidate for the DLP?

Where is it? You forget? Did Shell Oil buy you off? Did you forget? Get drunk? … what’s your excuse? Too busy eating lunches at the Hilton?

Why is it that every time Environment Minister Lowe speaks, all we smell is cow dung?

Excerpts from Dr. Lowe’s February 5, 2009 speech…

“THE absence of legislation to govern the disposal of chemicals in this island, including those categorised as chemical waste, needs to be addressed.”

Illustration of the full text of Dr. Lowe's speech

Speaking at the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Workshop, Minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, said there are several gaps in the existing legal infrastructure for chemicals management, while pointing out the need for the implementation of relevant regulations.

(snip)

“Pollutants that had the potential to harm the respiratory systems of those who inhaled them, and impact negatively on our water quality,” he stressed.

He stated that incidents such as these underscored the adverse affects that chemicals, including those persons used everyday, could have on the environment and therefore on human health.

“More importantly, these incidences have accentuated the need for us to review, evaluate, reform and, where necessary, develop mechanisms to minimise any threats posed by the use or disposal of chemicals to the environment,” he added.

Commenting on the current state of chemicals management in the island, Lowe pointed out that there was room for improvement regarding its practice and its framework.

(snip)

“All too often, persons can be observed spraying pests control agents around their homes wearing shorts, without protective clothing or equipment, seemingly unaware that contact between some of these chemicals and the skin can lead to medical conditions such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea,” Lowe said, adding “This lack of awareness has even been exhibited by pest control professionals and others who perform such functions.”

“…strengthen enforcement measures and encourage national laws and regulations regarding chemical management.”

Read the February 2009 BFP story Do-Nothing Barbados Environment Minister Highlights DLP Government’s Impotence

Comments Off on Barbados Environment Ministers have been making the same speech for 15 years. Here it is…

Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Politics, Wildlife

Another thieving Barbados estate lawyer

Having read your articles on crooked lawyers in Barbados and having gotten no satisfaction from the probate attorney for my wife’s God-Mother I thought of writing you and The Nation.  What makes this outright thievery a bit different (probably not unique) is that my wife, (name removed by editor) was born in Barbados and is a Barbados and US citizen.  The attorney in question did not identify all foreign securities (due in the will to go to my wife) and has continued since the death (1999) to routinely cash dividends.

That he was doing so was brought to us by an employee of Inland Revenue who cannot further identify himself. The attorney in question has confessed to all of this in writing–exacted with the help of an attorney-cousin of my wife, who can get no further with this thief.

No help from the Barbados Bar Association.

I have chapter and verse.

This surely hurts the honourable nation Barbados is.  We have never stopped coming all 50 years of our marriage.

signed (name and contact info sent to BFP, but not published by editor)

15 Comments

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

Barbados roadsign shows support for Jamaica’s Dudus Coke!

Painted sign on wood: “Dudus We love U!”

This sign was seen today (Monday May 24 Bank Holiday) on the left-hand side of Collymore Rock Road going towards Wildey from Bridgetown. Although badly painted, it was built as a stand up sign. For those who might not know (and I am sure you are all aware at Barbados Free Press) Dudus is the man behind the mass confusion and turmoil that Jamaica is in at the moment.

Should we in Barbados be worried about this show of solidarity with a known criminal wanted by the US so badly that his case has brought a whole island to almost a standstill and that has law-abiding citizens scared to even breathe?

I would like to think that this is a warning of things to come for us because if this is so, the powers that be can take action RIGHT NOW to put such solidarity with common criminals to rest! With an e-mail going around about the state of gangs already on the island, it does not augur well to even have one person loving Dudus! And certainly it is an affront to have this sign in full view of people from all walks of life and ages here on our island. I thought you all should know. Perhaps even try to investigate.

A very concerned citizen

PS Whilst I usually fear no one…this time I ask that my name and e-mail address be kept out of the newspapers for my own security. And that says something!

35 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Jamaica, Police

Respected community leader: Some Barbados politicians might be taking payoffs from drug gangs

When Drug Money, Gangs and Politics mix – Worries in Barbados

The Chairman of the Barbados Youth Development Council made a surprising remark last Friday and said in public what many folks have whispered to each other privately. Roger Husbands came right up to the line for public comment in Barbados, and even more surprising The Nation printed some of what he said…

POLITICIANS are either “getting assistance” to keep quiet about gang activities in their constituencies, or they just don’t care, says Roger Husbands.

Speaking yesterday during a quarterly meeting for the Barbados Youth Development Council, chairman Husbands blasted politicians…

… from The Nation article MPs urged to face gang problems in districts

In Barbados it is legal for drug dealers to make secret “campaign donations” to Members of Parliament

Roger Husbands is to be admired for his courage and straight talking – which we’ve seen reported before in Ian Bourne’s Gangs of Barbados article.

Now Mr. Husbands has made new remarks and his concerns are especially timely considering that as I write this article Jamaica is aflame with riots and shooting as drug gangs battle police for control of the streets – and it’s all about drug money injected into politics.

The news in Jamaica is about the relationship between Prime Minister Bruce Golding and the murderous drug dealer ‘businessman’ Christopher “Dudus” Coke. If the news stories are to be believed, Dudus Coke the gang leader was a big political supporter of PM Golding, and in return Jamaican government contracts were given to the “legitimate businessman” Mr. Coke.

The folks over at Jamaica and the World blog are asking Prime Minister Golding’s wife Lorna Golding what she meant when she told people to “read between the lines”…

“Is it that Bruce received a reminder from ‘Dudus’ that he,  Dudus, made him, Bruce, the M.P. for West Kingston  ? And can make him the “former M.P. of West Kingston” anytime….. (snip)

… Or should we read between the lines and stop feeling sorry for Bruce, who having sold out to Dudus so he could be PM,  has now turned around and sold out Dudus in order to remain PM for a few more weeks and months ?

Approving the extradition order for Dudus was the cross…. Now we’re waiting to find out what’s the DOUBLE CROSS.”

… from the Jamaica and the World article Reading between the lines with Lorna Golding (and Dudus Coke)

Drug Gangs and Political Financing in Barbados – Barbados politicians don’t have to account for money they receive, and there are no laws about who can “donate” and how much.

Roger Husbands’ statements to the Barbados Youth Development Council are a warning. Barbados has no campaign financing laws. There is no transparency. There are no rules. No integrity legislation. No conflict of interest laws. No restrictions on who can give how much money to politicians.

No rules and it’s all done in secret. That’s the Barbados political financing reality.

Mr. Husbands is right to be worried that drug gangs are part of the financing to Barbados politicians, and that the gangs might be protected in return.

We’ve all heard the whispers, but now a respected community leader has said those whispers out loud.

What will Barbados Members of Parliament do about it?

12 Comments

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

Will Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe attend World Environment Day Parish Walk – Saturday, June 5, 2010?

Why does our Environment Minister shun citizen-organised Environmental events?

Minister Denis Lowe

With his friendly demeanor and large frame Barbados Environment Minister Denis Lowe is easy to spot when he appears in public, but other than his press interviews and carefully-staged talks at schools, political functions and Ministry show-projects, Mr. Lowe remains The Invisible Man to ordinary citizens.

Saturday, June 5, 2010 is World Environment Day (UN WED website here).

Commemorated on 5 June since 1972, World Environment Day is one of the principal vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.

This year, 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.  This event also marks the 40th Anniversary of the NCC.

We wonder if Environment Minister Lowe will attend this citizen-organised walk or if he will limit his participation to taking out one of his famous full page adverts in The Barbados Advocate. In lieu of the full page advert, perhaps he might be planning to do one of his “I am concerned” media interviews while standing in front of government crews cleaning drains. (The Barbados Advocate covers Dr. Lowe’s stand up interviews faithfully but that has nothing to do with the regular full page government advertisements… honest!)

Pardon our cynicism folks, but Dr. Lowe and his Ministry have been no-shows at so many environmental events that we have to wonder. Most recently the Barbados Government, Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the Environment Ministry were invited to participate in the planning and execution of No Plastic Bag Day.

Denis Lowe canceled a scheduled meeting with the Future Centre Trust at the last moment saying he had more important commitments. Lowe sent no stand-in. No Ministry of the Environment personnel responded to invitations either – and no politicians from any party showed up during the planning or on the day of the event. The Barbados DLP Government of Prime Minister David Thompson did do one thing though: the DLP denied a duty waiver on the green shopping bags imported as part of No Plastic Bag Day.

The good Doctor Lowe hasn’t been seen at any beach or gully clean-ups either. He’s also been conspicuously absent from the site of the Shell Oil pipeline spill since he was elected.

“There is no question that Shell Oil bought and paid for two successive Barbados governments. How else can we explain the actions of both the BLP and DLP governments in allowing this negligent and abusive company to walk away free from a major pipeline leak that polluted the water table over hundreds of acres, ruined agricultural land and still threatens our beaches?”

from the BFP article How Much Did It Cost Shell Oil To Buy Two Barbados Governments? Without Election Financing Laws, We’ll Never Know

Prior to the DLP victory in January 2008, Denis Lowe was happy to work with environmentalists and concerned citizens to look for justice for the victims of the Shell Oil pipeline spill. Lowe attended with Adrian Loveridge and others to pull buckets of Shell jet fuel from household water wells and demand that Shell take responsibility and clean up their mess.

That was prior to the DLP forming the government, of course.

Now? We have Shell Oil’s “fixer company” saying they will “ensure government buy-in” to Shell’s position.

Hey… Dr. Lowe, please tell us how much in “campaign donations” that you and the Democratic Labour Party have received from Shell, SOL or associated companies since you lost interest in the Shell Oil pipeline spill?

Does it matter whether or not Environment Minister Lowe shows up for World Environment Day?

At this point? Nope. It doesn’t matter at all. Not a bit.

Barbados Free Press will be there though. See you on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 5am for a 6am start at the Eric Holder Centre in St Joseph.

(5am? I know, I know! But Clive promises he’ll either get up early or stay up all night. Do we believe him? Sure! 🙂 )

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Disaster, Environment, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Oil, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Bajan in Hollywood Sean Michael Field lands another major commercial – AAMCO Auto Repair

Talent, hard work paying off for a nice guy in a tough business

Another big company has turned to Hollywood-based Sean Michael Field to bring their image to America. AAMCO, one of the largest auto repair networks in the USA is “fielding” (ed: couldn’t help it!) a new television commercial on June 1st starring our friend.

We’ve been following Sean’s acting career since he made the girls swoon with his HIV condom advert a few years back. (Shona just walked by, saw what I wrote and is starting to giggle because she remembers the commercial.)

I don’t know much about the movie or television business, but if I look at Sean Field’s work over the past few years the word that comes to mind is “versatile”. He takes a variety of rolls and excels at each one right from macho sexy, to romantic, to a bit of comedy (his KFC commercial) to sinister bad guy.

According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Sean has a couple of new movies on the go too.

It’s so good to see a truly decent guy doing well and progressing in a tough town like Hollywood. We look forward to seeing his Sean’s AAMCO commercial soon. We’ll let you know if we find it online next month.

Sean’s website is here: Sean Michael Field website

As an aside, it doesn’t happen too often that Barbados Free Press scoops Ian Bourne and The Bajan Reporter on an entertainment industry story but it looks like we’ve done it this time!   🙂

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Celebrities

Do we need armed officers at each Barbados school? Shot fired during school canteen robbery

Violent criminals know the Barbados Police Force is understrength by 100+ officers

When two thugs burst into the Parkinson School canteen just after lunch on Friday and fired a shot to terrorize the staff, they knew that they could probably get clean away. That’s because criminals, like the rest of us, have noticed that patrolling police officers are a rare sight in Barbados compared with even two or three years ago.

According to the story in The Nation, canteen owner Nancy Lynch was taken to hospital and another woman had a gun placed right against her chest as people screamed and ran from the masked men.

In our school.

Where our children are.

Where we send them every day to learn and be safe.

School Principal Orson Alleyne wrong about one thing…

“It is frightening to think that in this society we can come to the point where people can think they can come onto a school compound and perform such acts, and in broad daylight,” … school principal Orson Alleyne

The truth is that the thugs don’t think they can rob a school in broad daylight with our children there – they know they can do it because they, like the rest of us, watched the politicians squeeze the budget of our Royal Barbados Police Force for the last 15 years.

Dale Marshall - Policing not a priority

Former Attorney General Dale Marshall told potential Barbados police recruits that they shouldn’t expect to be paid anywhere near what they could earn elsewhere as police officers. That said everything about what Mr. Marshall’s priorities were. (To be fair though, Dale Marshall’s government did give us a hell of a Cricket World Cup party over a few weeks for only a half a billion dollars or thereabouts.)

Policing and community safety was not a priority for the Mottley/Arthur BLP government and it is not a priority for the current DLP government. That’s why our police force doesn’t have the money to attract and hire the more than 100 officers who haven’t been replaced.

An Insider Talks

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

Election Trinidad and Tobago – How will a Peoples’ Partnership Government handle the CL Financial fiasco?

CL Financial bailout & The Peoples’ Partnership

by Afra Raymond

The CL Financial bailout has been a major public concern since it was announced on 30th January 2009 and I have been critical of the steps taken by the current administration to deal with the collapse of what was the Caribbean’s largest conglomerate.

The leader of the Peoples’ Partnership (PP), Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has been noted for her strong criticism of the actions of the Minister of Finance in making early withdrawals from the CL Financial group before the collapse.  Her arguments in the Parliament are an important part of the story of this fiasco.

National elections are Monday, with the distinct probability of a victory by the united PP, so it is timely to consider the way in which that group might handle the bailout.

Kamla Persad Bissessar - Finally a woman for T&T Prime Minister?

In addition to her major contribution to this debate, the opposition leader has recently promised to revisit the terms of the bailout and that is an intriguing development.

It is impossible at this stage to know what the PP will do on this important public matter, but I have been considering the role of certain major players.

The Insiders

For example, these are prominent people, formerly from the highest level of the CL Financial group – Continue reading

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Friends, fun and fresh air at the Blackman’s Gully Trail Walk in Barbados

On the scene photos brought to you through the magic of Kammie Holder’s BlackBerry!

Kammie Holder - Future Centre Trust

In the photo above I see British High Commissioner Paul Brummell (red shirt, white fedora) and author/professor Sean Carrington (big guy with mustache in foreground, wearing shorts) at the Blackman’s Gully Trail Walk coordinated by The Future Centre Trust and happening this morning. Okay, this isn’t a major news event but it is rather special that we’re posting these photos while folks are still in the gully.

I’m heading out the door so I’ll quickly post the other photos and leave it to our readers to make the comments. If you were on the trail walk, let’s hear from you!

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Nights out in Barbados: Braddie’s Bar and Mount Gay Showcase

We love ya, kiddo! But Mummy & Dada need a break!

Do you ever get into that rut where you do nothing but work, sleep and look after the home and the little ones? Happens all the time around here when we forget to put aside some time for WE the married couple.

Not family get togethers – they don’t count. Not dumping the boys on Auntie for an hour of shopping or a quick movie – that doesn’t count because it’s not about WE.

My Love… it’s time.

Auntie says she’ll give us almost 24 hours on the weekend from Saturday noonish. The boys can stay overnight and we get a whole 24 hours to WE.

Good times at Braddie's Bar!

I see some fun things doing over at The Bajan Reporter where Ian Bourne reviewed the Ad Lib show at Braddie’s Bar and had a great time of it.

There’s the Mount Gay Showcase happening from June 2 – 4 at the Hilton and we might do that too.

Let’s talk about this and a few other possibilities when I get home after work.

It’s time for WE.

All my love,

Marcus

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Filed under Barbados, Health

The broken sluice gate the Barbados Government refuses to repair – killing our Ramsar wetlands

This broken sluice gate is the weapon being used to destroy our last mangrove wetlands

The government-owned and controlled sluice gate should regulate the flow of water in and out of the Graeme Hall mangrove wetlands. When operating properly, it lets the wetlands “breathe” and refresh itself from the sea. It keeps the brackish water (brackish = salt and fresh water mix) at the correct salinity to allow the mangroves, plants and all creatures great and small to thrive.

Without a properly operating sluice gate, the mangrove wetlands die as do many plant and animal species that inhabit the Ramsar-designated Graeme Hall wetlands.

Successive Barbados governments have refused to repair or replace the broken sluice gate for at least 15 years that I know of. Successive Barbados governments have refused offers from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary to repair or replace the sluice gate at the Sanctuary’s cost and operate it under government supervision.

Why would that be?

Why would the Barbados government deliberately refuse to repair or replace the sluice gate for 15 years?

Barbados Free Press suspects that the long term goal of certain persons is to destroy the wetlands so they can then be developed. Graeme Hall would be worth a huge pile of money if developed.

The Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary launched an international complaint about the government’s actions. Read about the background here, here and…

Investor files international complaint – says Barbados government violated agreement with Canada, failed to protect Canadian investment in Barbados and…

Major Environmental Engineering study slams Barbados Government over imminent death of last Mangrove wetland.

Flood Control

Besides controlling the environmental health of the mangrove wetlands, the sluice gate is also used for flood control – to lower the level of the water during times of heavy rains when the wetlands act as a giant reservoir to prevent flooding of the surrounding area.

Because our government deliberately refuses to repair the sluice gate, the folks responsible for flood control use construction equipment to block the channel with sand – or remove the sand – as needed to control the water level in the wetlands.

As we reported yesterday, the government dug out the sand two days ago for a time to lower the water level and then filled the channel again. (See BFP’s Potential flooding forces Barbados Government to unblock Graeme Hall Wetlands sluice gate)

The photos of the broken sluice gate to the sea and the channel were taken on Wednesday morning and afternoon, May 19, 2010 after the government blocked the channel again with sand. (Big Thanks to three readers who responded to our request for photos!)

Does that sluice gate look high-tech to you? Does it look like there’s a technical reason why it couldn’t have been repaired or replaced 15 years ago? Does it look like rocket science with the latest alloys? Is it made of gold?

I think readers will find it as obvious as we do: the non-repair and non-operational state of the government-owned sluice gate is deliberate.

Once you see the simple truth of these photos, the question becomes Why is our government doing this to OUR last remaining mangrove wetlands?

Click on each photo to view full size (800 x 600).

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Nature, Offshore Investments, Politics, Wildlife