PM Stuart returns from China with spin but little real news or accomplished

“How many times does the government get to announce that an air deal with China is “coming” before it’s not news anymore?”

BFP reader WSD reacts to a Nation story about Barbados “making ground” in an air service agreement with China.

The return of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart ends yet another high-level government trip to China. Barbadians were treated to the usual same-old same old photos of our DLP or BLP representatives touring China and shaking hands with the big-ups. Have a look at past photos of Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley and David Thompson hanging around with Chinese government officials and you’ll get what I mean. You could switch the heads around with Photoshop and with the exception of Mia’s big red dress, the photos are all the same image and the same story.

Show me the money!

Like the trips before, there was the usual announcement of another grant from China, this time about six million dollars if memory serves. When the money doesn’t come through (as with the promised library funding) we seldom hear about that. Neither is there much talk about the Chinese workers and companies getting construction contracts while Bajan machinery and hands sit idle. There is especially little talk of how Chinese computer hardware and programming companies are winning government contracts – which is an especially scary proposition for the Barbados offshore banking and insurance industry considering China’s propensity for economic espionage.

Nothing instills confidence and security in the financial sector’s computer operations like having Chinese routers! (Shhhhh!!!!)

The big article in the Nation is that the PM instructed our Ambassador to China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, to give the air travel agreement with China “priority”. While such an agreement could provide valuable tourists and foreign currency, the BLP and DLP governments have dangled that carrot for five years or more and the hope is wearing a little thin.

But old story or not, that is the feel good article of the day at The Nation and it is designed to lessen the pain of the recent downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service. In many ways the stage was set for that downgrade by the spendthrift BLP Arthur/Mottley government but don’t expect Goin’ wid Owen or Mia to take any responsibility for weakening our foundations long before David Thompson was elected.

As to what Barbados should be doing, each one of us should be working harder, living smaller and doing our best to make every visitor feel like they want to return to BIM. That message isn’t getting out there from the government though, for as PM Stuart says, we’ve made a Chinese air agreement a “priority” and the downgrade is “no cause for alarm.”


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, China, Politics

14 responses to “PM Stuart returns from China with spin but little real news or accomplished

  1. Bajan Cutter

    It’s true! LOL All the trips are the same and they promise the same things and dangle the same airline service carrot after each trip. Thank you BFP.

  2. Sweaty

    A flight agreement? Chinese tourists to Bim? I have never heard of anything so ridiculous.
    The British and Canadians come because they live in a cold country and enjoy the sun and the beaches. They speak the same language as us and feel welcome and at home.
    Why would the Chinese want to travel half way round the world to Barbados? To sit on a beach and get tan? Is that even possible?
    And what’s this crap about Mandarin at UWI? More cultural imperialism.
    Cap in hand and nothing was achieved.

  3. What? Me?

    Sweaty doesn’t know that the Chinese will come like the Indians will come and the Africans will come. Remember all the people from the other side of the world who would love to travel for 30 hours through Europe and the USA to get to our place. Must be so because the politicians keep saying it is so.

  4. rasta man

    Reminds me of the old but true saying.”You can fool ALL the people SOME of the time ,and SOME of the people ALL the time, but you cannot fool ALL the people ALL the time.

  5. Blackness is good!

    Why are the Chinese coming to Barbados? FOR OUR WOMEN!

    You have doubts? I did, then I read

  6. watcher

    Well maybe you can fool all of the people all of the time. Read in the Advocate the other day how the Government says the economy is going to grow from tourism this year and then read on the same page how the hotel operators are getting prepared for the one of the worst summers in tourism ever.

    While China in some parts is cold and wintery like Canada, it is large enough to have a southern part where there are plam trees…and a great 5 star plus hotel there is less than $100 USA per night. China to Barbados is a grulling flight with a stop over required in North America for a night. The time zone difference alone is 12 or 13 hours where they are ahead of us. Dont’t see tourism from China as a saving grace..And then there are technical issues of visas that will be needed to be dealt with becasue of the overnight stop in North America. Of course perhaps the Government could pay Air China for flying a direct flight from Beijing or Shanghi to Barbados as they do with Gol. Last Gol flight I was on to San Paulo there were 38 people.

    Better opportunties getting Red Jet going. .

  7. J. Payne

    Wouldn’t it have been better for Barbados to get the Chinese to bring in a transfer of skills type agreement? I think Barbados switching to Linux would save millions in foreign exchange. Trinidad and Tobago alone just announced their sales bill from Microsoft for licenses for three more years will be $124 million dollars. Cuba switched to Linux 1) because of the U.S. embargo and 2) because once you learn-it it’s free. China has their own Red Flag Linux that is being developed as well.

  8. The Moore

    Spin is better than nothing!

    So to really know what’s going on take a look at what China is doing in the rest of the world and it just may becomes a little clearer just what is happening for Barbados and how to make the best of it.

    The Chinese are the world’s economic super power and are economically moving into many countries in the world. Take a look at Africa. In many African countries they are building schools, putting roads water supplies and rail infrastructure in exchange for mineral rights. There is friction in some areas due to some Chinese setting up small business and outperforming the locals and yes that is an issue to watch. Just remind me how McDonnell’s did in Barbados again.

    From what I can tell generally the Chinese are making the lives of people better at the moment, better than the western powers and corporations are leaving and have left the people in. Why did Britain wait to introduce democracy in Hong Kong just as they were leaving? What Have the Chinese done in that area since the British have left? Take a look at the history of Shell, Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people in the Niger Delta. Take a look at the history of Belgian Congo to understand what is going on in the DRC at the moment.

    Don’t get me wrong this to could be another story of ‘arrive with the Bible and leave with the land’ as history has shown before. The Monroe Doctrine and how it has functioned needs to be taken into account. Take a look at Haiti and The Dominican Republic and research why that land mass is split into two and why Haiti is in such a condition even today. Perhaps the French would be able to give the answer, however I prefer Toussaint L’Ouverture’s view. Perhaps we could also take a look at Vulture funds specifically in Liberia and see how they help the developing nations in the world.

    Forget about your internet security worries as far as the Chinese government is concerned because if you haven’t worked it out already, ask why some countries wanted to ban BlackBerry Smart phones but they were ok in the US.

    If you are worried about the downgrade don’t be it’s out of your control now and it’s too late. Every politician in Barbados, especially those with any form of economic nous would have known many years ago what was going to happen. However just like in Greece the Greeks politicians previously in control before the crisis hit were never going to take responsibility. If they plaid their cards right, they were never going to be in power when the crisis hit, they could just sit on the sidelines saying heads should roll. It’s like listening to a teenager never quite able to take responsibility for their actions. Pointing the finger at others, hoping that all the blustering will deflect from their previous bleating for more money to finance their own lifestyle, in an attempt to cushion themselves from the rigors of the policies they themselves have visited on others.

    If the Chinese do come into Barbados make the most of it but be aware of The Monroe Doctrine and how it has functioned. There is a big game to be plaid here and with time it will be an extension of what is happening around the East China Sea. Perhaps look to Cuba in the future.

    The Chinese are building up strategic alliances all over the world. The West has had such a long time to really improve the life of people but the values have not been extended very far.
    Visiting China showed me that they are very interested in anything exotic. They gaze at you in wonder rather than disgust. Many of them have never seen people from another country. They will have a child like fascination, they will spit all over the place, eat whilst speaking, eat with their mouths open and when they get the chance they will come because previously the general population have never been able to leave the country and they will spend massive amounts of money in your country. They will spend time on the beach because it will show when they go home that they have the money to travel, just as the British used to.

    If you really want to take advantage of the Chinese windfall when it comes, get the travel sorted. Correct me as I may be wrong here but I think that thanks to Concord you have the only runway that can handle the airbus A380. So you will be the hub in the Caribbean. Get the betting on the island sorted out, paint things red and place the number 8 strategically around the island. At least REDjet has made a start! The most important thing is to keep the squabbling childish political classes in their place, but most of all do your own research!

    “Here endeth the lesson”

  9. Charlie

    Got to admit after reading that last piece from @The Moore I plan to join Laurie & eat African snails, and live in a mud hut, ’cause I sure as hell am not planning to sell my soul to any person be they white, yellow, brown or frigging green…..Here endeth my lesson!

  10. J. Payne

    I would have considered asking the Chinese if they’d be interested in building a cruise pier for Speightstown and or Holetown. That would do wonders-more for Barbados’ economy than the out dated Empire which can probably scarcely hold 1000 people if that. What’s the need for the Empire when there’s the Frank Collymore Hall and WIldey Gym? Many other facilities in Barbados hold about the same amount of people. Barbados has a population of just over a quarter million. If Barbados had a concert hall with seating for 2,800 it could be said it can hold 1% of the population at any one event. 14,000 would hold about 5% of the population at once. But anyway, you get de idea. Empire theatre I suspect is a boom-bust idea. It might be a good diplomatic building/location for a foreign government that wants a presence to Barbados, or the like but I think 10-15 years people will be saying it wasn’t worth the money. It is making redundant many of the other venues in Barbados.

    @Charlie. As they say in Bajan. “HEeeeeeeey——- you’z giving up Babyland???

  11. Rohan Frederick

    When I read all this crap about China giving this and doing that for Barbados it makes me cringe. China is one of the most evil Government in The World. Their human rights is dismal, and they put you in jail if you carry your Bible. Barbados is suppose to be a Christian society so tell me what are they going to do with us ? Are they going to turn our country into a one baby family, which might be good for us, at least it might help us to learn more about birth control. Hope they don’t destroy any of our babies if we happen to have two.

  12. J.C.P.

    @Rohan Frederick.

    Your comment came to mind when I read the following story…

    * Fake photo fallout: Chinese officials embrace social media to explain mixup

    (SNIP) One of the worst doctored photographs in Internet history? That’s the emerging verdict on a clumsily altered photo of bureacrats in the sleepy county of Huili, in southwest China’s Sichuan province. In an ill-fated PR stunt, the trio of area government officials are shown appearing to float over the surface of a road, casting nary a shadow in a bid to promote a local road construction project.
    (END SNIP)

  13. Plea to Government on land conflict

    For the second time in two years, Chinese from Chinados Construction descended on the land being occupied by small farmer David Bourne at Maxwell Gardens, Christ Church, and attempted to remove his crops to make way for the construction of a villa.

    The Chinese bought the land three years ago and obtained a court order back in 2009 instructing Bourne to vacate the land.

    But Bourne, 30, whose family has lived on the land for over six decades, is appealing to Government to intervene and save his crops and his home.

    “They want the land for a view, but I want it for food,” he said.

    I have no idea if they’re family…

  14. J. Payne

    Would the Barbados government even have the guts to stand up to China? Like it or not, the Chinese that are moving to Barbados are going to continue to do so. Barbados has a nearly perfect communist system in place… Near free education, near free healthcare (until recently), free school rides for children. And and problem you have you tell the government and they pay for it for you. If your house falling down, call the government… If you have more land than you can manage to debush, wait on government to come debush it for you. It is a familiar market for them but they can criticise the local government when they want without worrying about being sent to prison for ‘re-education’.

    Barbados owes China too much money for years of “favours”.