Monthly Archives: April 2011

Trinidad & Tobago orders REDjet “Cease advertising immediately”

April 20, 2011

Trinidad & Tobago Civil Aviation Authority sends “Cease and Desist” letter

“No automatic right for REDjet to operate in T&T… Must comply with further licensing process”

People don’t take kindly when you make newspaper announcements that you’re coming for dinner, but you didn’t bother to inform the host.

That’s pretty well what’s happening in Trinidad & Tobago right now, and as much as I hope that REDjet does well – I totally understand the outrage felt by the Government and Civil Aviation Authorities in T&T.

Cart-before-horse REDjet infuriating T&T Government - Easier to obtain forgiveness than permission?

Our Prediction: No way that REDjet will be making that already announced May 8th first flight to Trinidad & Tobago. The T&T people will make sure of that just to get their point across.

I can’t figure out the reason for this strategy by REDjet, for this had to be deliberate. Any ideas from the cheap seats?

Robert

Further Reading

Guardian: REDjet’s May 8 flight in jeopardy

30 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Tourist writes: “History, beauty… no longer relevant in Barbados”

Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

by Cindy Martell, American visitor to Barbados

I am so saddened to read of the senseless loss of Sam Lords Castle. My husband and I took our honeymoon in Barbados at Sam Lords Castle when it was a Marriott property 19 years ago. We treasured every moment and the tales of Sam Lord, evil as he may have been. Sam Lords dinner was a highlight of our trip and history of the castle.

I learned of its tragic fate while researching for a return to trip to Barbados for our 20th Anniversary. I’m quite certain we will find a new special place as the history and riches that took us to Barbados originally appear to no longer be relevant. Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

22 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, History

David Clarke murdered in Bermuda – Family in Barbados grieves

Victim was to visit Barbados family for his birthday

Our heartfelt condolences to the family of David Clarke Jr., who was gunned down on Sunday only a few days short of his 27th birthday. Sister Janelle is a lawyer in Barbados and is headed to Bermuda for the funeral this weekend.

Full details are in the Royal Gazette Online

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Bermuda, Crime & Law

Spark of the Day! Keenan Cahill goes viral with Rihanna’s Only Girl in the World


Keenan has over 200 hundred million views on YouTube

I laughed, I cried and I prayed as I watched 16 year old Keenan Cahill’s lip-sync singing videos on YouTube.

God made us all different, and Keenan’s challenges didn’t stop him. He’s a worldwide sensation and I love him. (and yes that is 50 Cent singing with him in another video.)

Shona

Here’s Keenan’s homepage: http://keenansroom.com/

Here’s his full YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BeenerKeeKee19952

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Rihanna, Spark of the Day!

CARICOM Crime and Security Chief under investigation: Corruption, Fraud

Lynne Anne Williams accused of “Corruption, Misappropriation, hiring of unqualified staff, fraudulent accounting practices”

The Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (Impacs) is headed by Lynne Anne Williams, who took over in September of 2009. She makes US$14,000 a month plus expenses, but that wasn’t enough so she created phony travel expense invoices and pocketed the money.

Anyone ever heard of “Darreyl’s Bungalow Short Term Accommodation” in Barbados? Nope. Me neither.

But Lynne Anne Williams stayed there and billed for it.

And that is nothing, just a flea bite compared with all the allegations we’re seeing in the Trini press. Yup, Williams; visited Barbados for a 20 day security meeting that never happened and she billed for the whole thing – right at Crop Over too. Must be a coincidence!

“This signifies a clear recognition by the Caribbean Community….of the danger that unchecked financial crime poses to our economic and political systems” said Lynne Anne Williams, the Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS.

Lynne Anne Williams speaking about money-laundering back in January 2011. What a joke!

Yup, it’s really hit the fan at IMPACS, and it’s not just Williams either. The allegations are flying and it’s not he-said, she-said stuff because copies of the phony invoices are in the hands of the newspapers.

So what will happen? Come on folks… you know what’s going to happen in the end. Lynne Anne Williams will quietly retire, no charges will be laid and it will all fade away. Because…

Our Assessment: Williams is guilty as hell, but will never be charged because before coming to IMPACTS she headed the Special Intelligence Agency for 14 years and nobody is going to mess with what she knows.

Who will watch the watchers? Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Police

Can LIAT survive the REDjet – Caribbean Airlines squeeze play?

“Clearly LIAT will be at a tremendous disadvantage…”

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

Like thousands of people around the region, I share the excitement of impending competition and all the benefits hopefully it will bring to us with the launch of REDJET.

Frankly, it could not come at a better time as we face the daunting prospect of near eight month softer summer season.

Our Government should be happy too, as if the majority of those seats transit or are purchased in Barbados they will collect up to a whopping BDS$15 million in ‘departure taxes’ and what could be another BDS$4.37 million in VAT. Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Gline Clarke talks from experience, says Goverment should help folks build a home!

Government Minister Clarke: love nest on expropriated land. Barbados news media let it pass!

Gline Clarke, Member for St. George North, said in Parliament the other day that government should be giving long term land leases and help folks to acquire mortgages to build homes.

Fair enough. On this small island where land is at a premium and Town Planning permissions to build turn scrub land into gold, there has to be some government control and oversight. But without Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information, who will watch over the government people?

So give folks access to land and homes.

But when a Minister of Government like Gline Clarke ends up living on land his government expropriated…

Well, that’s something else, isn’t it?

How about it, Mr. Clarke? In five years you haven’t answered the people of Barbados about how you, as a Minister of Government, ended up living in a home on land that your government expropriated.

Your government never paid for the land after expropriating it, but that’s a pretty common story ’bout hey.

Man, if this was New Jersey or the UK, the news media woulda been all over the story. But this is Barbados.

So the newspapers ignored the story, but the people and the blogs doan forget!

Further Reading

Barbados Advocate: Opposition MP wants government allocate land to the poor.

7 Comments

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

Code of Silence kicks in at Colman Commission


People doing their level best to shut down the Inquiry into CLICO/HCU collapse

VIDEO: Morning Edition Interview – 11 Apr 2011

Afra Raymond sits with host, Fazeer Mohammed on the Morning Edition television show to discuss further developments in the Colman Commission into the CLICO/HCU collapse. Video courtesy TV6

Programme Air Date: 11 April 2011
Programme Length: 0:32:40

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Economy, Freedom Of Information

BREAKING: Doubts over REDjet Approvals in Trinidad and Tobago

T&T Transport Minister Jack Warner “in the dark”

T&T Civil Aviation Director “No permits issued.”

Breaking News: April 14, 2011, 11:42PM Bridgetown

This story is just breaking on the internet and there will be more to come when it all hits the fan in Bridgetown in the morning. The permits issue will probably resolve itself and calm down tomorrow – but right now it sure is interesting!

I’d like to follow the story but I’m dead tired and if I don’t pack it in I’ll be useless at work tomorrow so…

Here’s a start and our readers or others at BFP can pick up on the story as it develops. Comments are open!

“You know something, regrettably, I don’t have all the details of REDjet’s entry into Trinidad and Tobago. … I keep trying to know how it happened and why and so on. Be that as it may I want to believe that it is healthy competition and if REDjet coming to Trinidad and Tobago means that (Caribbean Airlines) will buck up … or lower its fares for the general public then so be it, because nothing is wrong with competition,” said (Transport Minister) Warner during the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

“I would have liked to know how the airline got the permission, from whom and when and I’m not quite sure I can answer you those questions,” Warner continued, adding that he had no documents at his ministry’s office with respect to REDjet’s operations.

Director general of the Civil Aviation Authority Ramesh Lutchmedial told the Express yesterday that no approval had been granted for REDjet to start operating in Trinidad and Tobago.

REDjet, the Caribbean’s first low-fare airline, was launched at The Carlton Savannah hotel, Port of Spain on Wednesday.

… from the Trinidad Express article Jack in the dark on REDjet’s permit

49 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Trinidad and Tobago

Deliberate fire in St. Philip “Irresponsible madness”

Who ordered this toilet?

Wednesday night at around 11:30pm fire was set to a plot of land in Travelers Av., Fortescue, St.Philip. If it wasn’t for the neighbor who immediately alerted the fire department and their prompt response, the fire could have raged out of control and threatened several houses in the area.

It is not difficult to guess who lit the fire. In the morning a brand new portable toilet was delivered to the same site!

Another display of irresponsible madness and a total lack of consideration for the safety and health of others.

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados

Attorney Donna Symmonds receives public apology from Barbados Free Press – sort of, but not really.

Updated April 18, 2011

Well folks, it looks like we can’t get a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client. Yup, Symmonds was in the mood to sue the heck out of poor old BFP until we started asking some very basic questions about whether her client had properly reported to the tax people.

Alright, we’ll put this article back into the list and that will be that.

Don’t know why it’s so difficult for some folks to just tell the truth straight up. It would be good if Bajans knew for certain whether the charges against the lawyer client were her carelessness or improper actions by government workers.

Updated April 15, 2011:

Bajans await a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client.

Weasel words from Attorney insider?

Attorney-at-law avoiding the truth?

Government tax authorities unfairly maligned by Attorney?

This story is gaining legs and certainly has the interest of our readers who want to know if the Attorney-at-Law “client” who is the subject of our story was unfairly charged by Barbados tax authorities or, as is looking ever more possible – was responsible for her own troubles.

At the center of the story is the question as to when “the client” who was charged with tax offenses (and who is an attorney at law herself) notified the Barbados tax authorities that she was no longer resident in Barbados.

If she properly notified the tax authorities years ago in writing and the government fouled up, then Bajans deserve to know about this unreasonable harassment by government officials.

But if the attorney at law “client” only notified the tax authorities after she was charged, and after ignoring years of tax demand letters, that means that the tax charges were fairly laid and that the attorney-at-law is hardly an innocent victim.

We’ve been trying to discover the truth, but so far all we get is silence and anonymous weasel words left as comments by an obvious insider.

The longer that Attorney at Law Donna Symmonds remains silent on this issue while screaming loudly about charges being dropped, the more it looks like the Attorney At Law “client” was charged due to her own negligence.

As we originally wrote to Attorney Donna Symmonds:

“Folks would like to know whether the fault is the government’s or your client’s and it would only be ethical to let the public know. That’s only fair to the government workers.

I mean, if it’s not the government’s fault, you wouldn’t want the public thinking it was, would you?”

Bajans await a straight answer from Attorney Donna Symmonds or her client.

Our original article published April 14, 2011…

“Our apology appears a little later in this article.”

Attorney says Client’s Charges Dropped! The Nation failed to report that all charges were dropped.

Why did Barbados lawyer Donna Symmonds publish a public letter on the internet instead of sending a private email?

Donna Symmonds (courtesy BBC)

Dear Attorney Donna Symmonds,

We just noticed today that you posted a letter to BFP as a public comment on April 11, 2011 on our story New Barbados Tourism Authority Director charged with tax evasion? (Your public comment is repeated at the end of this article.) Continue reading

48 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press

Reconnecting: Looking for Jack Smith (Wilson)

Privacy vs Helping Family: Where do we draw the line?

Every so often we receive requests to help locate long lost family members. Mostly they concern past generations and folks long gone to be with the Lord and that’s an easy decision. But sometimes the people could still be around and then what should we do?

Here’s the case of grandson seeking a grandfather he’s never met. Maybe the grandfather wants his privacy, maybe not. Maybe he’d love to hear from his grandson or maybe not. Maybe the grandfather is already passed.

Last Friday we had an all things Japan day just to think about those poor folks in the middle of the earthquake and nuclear disaster. Families, children, parents gone in an instant with no chance to see each other again however briefly this side of life. Part of the day was a Japanese-made movie called “Departures” that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film a couple of years ago.

After seeing Departures and thinking about family, I’ll take a chance and post this in the hopes that one of our two million visitors a year might be able to help. If anyone disagrees, let us know please. Otherwise let’s see if we can help out a man looking for his Bajan grandfather…

Dear Friends at Barbados Free Press,

My name is Ozzie Smith, from the U.S., Boston, Massachusetts, and I am emailing you in hopes that you can assist me and family.

The attached photo is a pic of my grandfather, whom I have never met, neither seen a pic of him until this past weekend (April 9th & 10th). Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, History, Immigration, USA

No charges or jail for Barbados diplomats who stole US$69,000 – transferred to Miami personal bank account!

UPDATED: March 14, 2013

The Nation is reporting Auditor General Leigh Trotman just advised Parliament that ““There was no supporting documentation for accounts receivable of $600 million. There were also inadequate supporting schedules in respect of capital assets of $1.8 billion,”

BFP reminds everyone that it doesn’t matter what our Auditor General says because nobody gets charged or fired anyway – no matter how clear the evidence is against them. Here’s a little news story from 2011 where some Bajan diplomats stole money and transferred it to personal bank accounts in Miami. What happened to these crooked diplomats?

Nothing. That’s what!

Original story…

“But just let the little man take $20 in groceries and see what happens…”

It’s called theft and international money laundering…

Our congratulations to Auditor General Leigh Trotman and his staff for uncovering a nasty little scheme by Bajan diplomats stationed in Venezuela.

Two crooks at the embassy falsely said that monies were being used for embassy business when the only thing going on was monkey business. The funds ended up in Miami through a magical process that is not altogether unknown to Bajan diplomatic elites.  Continue reading

33 Comments

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

New Barbados Tourism Authority Chairman needs all the help he can get!

Can the BTA Chairman Adrian Elcock be effective with little industry experience?

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

I have waited a few days, hoping, even wishing that someone within the tourism industry would make a public comment over the appointment of a new Barbados Tourism Authority Board.

Sadly, it hasn’t happened and almost with a sense of obligation, while knowing that it will invite criticism find it almost compelling to ask some seemingly relevant questions.

First let us establish the objective here. It’s not about individual personalities, but surely what is in the overall national best interest of Barbados and its tourism sector.

To ensure that I fully understood the required criteria of a Board Chairman, I have read through pages and pages of reference documents on the internet.

Listed as a basic function is ‘The Chairman of the Board is responsible for the management, the development and the effective performance of the Board of Directors, and provides leadership to the Board for all aspects of the Board’s work’.

Instinct tells me that it is fundamentally essential to have an in-depth
knowledge of the industry, its players and product, to perform this duty. Otherwise how could you assess the strengths and weaknesses to ensure that any medium to long term all embracing plan and policy direction is put into place? Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

CL Financial – CLICO payouts: Afra Raymond asks on television “Who got payouts first?”


“One rule for one set of people, another rule for another set of people”

Our friend Afra Raymond as interviewed by Fazeer Mohammed on Morning Edition television, March 24, 2011.

No word yet on whether the Colman Commission will grant standing to Afra. If Afra does get standing, he’ll be able to ask questions – and then, look out!

Click on the photo to watch. There’s lots more on the subject at Afra Raymond.com

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

US Federal Aviation Authority slams Barbados – Downgrades safety rating to Category 2, below Nigeria

Bajan veneer of compliance with international standards strikes again.

Our political and business leadership just doesn’t get it. The world has changed and even small countries like ours must comply with proper standards if we wish to have the benefits of international commerce and the respect of the international community.

Lately Barbados has taken it on the chin for failing to comply with international standards concerning tax avoidance, banking, trafficking in persons, insurance and the environment to name a few. Oh, the politicians squealed and puffed about the international politics behind some of the criticism, but the world is fast receiving the message that all is not as advertised ’bout hey in “First World” Barbados.

Now (and timed perfectly with the launch of Bajan air carrier REDjet) the FAA announces that Barbados fails to comply with ICAO safety regulations and downgrades us to Category 2. You know, like Nigeria. (Oh, wait. Nigeria was upgraded to Category 1 in August 2010. Sorry about that, Nigeria! Ok, so we’re in the same category as the Congo or Bangladesh.)

Squeal all you like about the international politics and business competition that might have pushed that decision: but if you can’t show the laws, standards and compliance – you haven’t got a leg to stand on. Oh well, we’re only talking about airlines and aviation safety here. Only our whole tourism based economy. That’s all. Continue reading

75 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Barbados governments prefer publicity campaigns over real environmental laws.

Abandoned Bajan chemical drums. Thanks to successive DLP & BLP Governments, it's not illegal in Barbados.

Barbados has no Environmental Protection legislation – so feel free to dump chemicals. That’s what companies do!

Over five years ago, Barbados Free Press asked Barbados Chemical Dumping – What Would Jesus Do?

Since that time we’ve been relentless in letting Bajans and others know that no Barbados government since independence has bothered to pass Environmental Protection laws. For all the good it does. The politicians didn’t even care when the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association asked the BLP and the DLP Where is the Environmental Act you’ve both been promising for 20 years?

The answer last year was, of course, “coming soon” or “in development” which really means “Shut up woman. We don’t want to upset Shell Oil and other companies that give us political funding.”

And so the “feel good, look good but do nothing” environmental campaign of the DLP government continues with the latest announcement that a chemical safety project “is coming”.

No environmental protection laws mind you: only nice feel good – look good publicity campaigns. Our current Environment Minister says he doesn’t believe in enforcing compliance and no wonder! You have to pass laws to enforce compliance with standards. It’s pretty basic.

Thanks to successive BLP and DLP governments, Barbados has no laws about the handling or disposal of chemicals – but we’re great at promises and recommendations.

Folks, please read the following at The Nation, and welcome to the third world.

Chemical safety project coming

Over the next two years, Barbadians should be better able to manage and dispose of various chemicals through a special project to be spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Environment

Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent within a year? Not going to happen!

Reader sends photos, weighs in on discussion

Mention was made in your article American Eagle pullout from Puerto Rico hits Barbados hard, of the completion of Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent within a year. This is impossible… construction drags on in fits and starts. Here are photos taken two days ago, April 9, 2011.

click for large

I am not an expert by any means, but does it matter that it is aligned almost due north with the Trade Winds coming in crosswind from the side? The pilots and airport followers may like to comment.

To build an international airport in this economic climate is no joke! But I suppose it helped to win a recent election.

Cheers!

Lennox

Thanks to another reader, we see this on the website of the airport development company

Constructing the Argyle International Airport: Where are we?

Due to a delay in the start of construction work on the Argyle International Airport Passenger Terminal Building the completion date for the airport has been moved from mid 2012 to mid 2013 when the airport is now expected to be completed and operationalize. Continue reading

55 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism