Monthly Archives: August 2011

CL Financial & CLICO Fraud – Colman Commission lawyers edge further towards a cover-up

“The CL Financial Agents, many of whom masqueraded as ‘Investment Advisors’, appealed to people to close-off their other accounts and sell other investments so as to put as many eggs into that one basket as possible. “

The Colman Commission – Cloudy Concessions

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission held its first session of Hearings in the last week of June, so we were able to have moving reports from witnesses who had lost-out from various investments with the Hindu Credit Union (HCU).

I read those transcripts and it was painful to see the shape of this problem.  The most striking aspect for me was that the various attorneys seemed to have struck a compromise as to the parts of that evidence which would form part of the public record.

The main concession was that those witnesses did not have to state the amount of their investments for the record.  The reasoning seems to have been a stated fear of crime, but it is my view that this concession will compromise the effectiveness of the Colman Commission.  Given that the Commission is scheduled to resume its Hearings on 19th September, it seems timely to put these matters forward now.

To begin with, the two Golden Rules of investment are –

  • The Risk and Reward paradigm – Risk and Reward have an inescapable relationship – i.e. the greater the Risk, the greater the Reward and vice versa.
  • Investments need to be spread out so as to avoid undue concentration of risk – in colloquial terms, you should not put all your eggs into one basket, or bet all your money on one horse.

From these time-honoured ‘Golden Rules’, we derived the ‘Prudential Criteria’ which guide how financial institutions balance risk and reward.

Yet, despite the ‘Golden Rules’ the CL Financial and Hindu Credit Union chiefs were able to devise products which tempted tens of thousands of people to abandon those basic safeguards and invest in their products.  People who were normally sensible were tempted to abandon good sense and break both ‘Golden Rules’.  That is the measure of this tragedy. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados

Elizabeth Drive, Pine Gardens Crime Alert: Is Erdiston College doing their part?

Barbados Police working hard. Police Inspector Griffith came to the call while off-duty.

With the dramatic and recent increase in crime many folks around the island are banding together and doing what they can to look out for each other and their neighbouring properties. BFP receives quite a few email crime alerts and we’re very interested in following the trends. While we don’t usually publish the individual alerts because they concern localized happenings, this one is noteworthy because it is obvious the police are working hard and keenly interested in a pair of thugs spotted around Elizabeth Drive.

A big thank you to Inspector Griffith who attended a call while off-duty. We at BFP have long been critical of certain aspects of our police force and senior management, but we’ve also said from day one that successive governments have criminally under-funded the police to the point where the organisation is ineffective.

Give praise where praise is due though: Thanks to Inspector Griffith and the other officers who responded to the calls, and are doing their best to find these two dangerous thugs.

Erdiston College not doing what they should?

There is also a reference in the email that Erdiston College is contributing to the problem because they no longer shut their pedestrian back-gate at sunset. Well Erdiston College? Any truth to that?

Here’s the email crime alert from the Elizabeth Drive Pine Gardens Resident Association…

Dear Elizabeth Drive Residents

Please see the below email from our fellow neighbour. Am trying to obtain more information as to the descriptions of these individuals. Please continue to share any pertinent information and to be vigilant.

Many thanks,

Caroline Steinbok, Neighbourhood Liaison – Elizabeth Drive Pine Gardens Resident Association

The Original email

Don’t know if you heard but we’ve had another incident today adding to the ongoing saga of criminals in the area. This info needs to go to all Pine Gardens residents as it is not restricted to Elizabeth Dr.

Here is a brief rundown of what I know so far. I don’t  know if anyone can add to it.

1-There was the robbery of the construction worker in Elizabeth Dr at around 9.am by two men. I am told that after the event, the men ran off North up Eliz. Dr.

2- On the day following or the next day two men were observed from Eliz. Dr. in a tree in the back of the Leacock property looking into the two properties at the northern end of Eliz. Dr. They ran off when the realized that they had been seen.

3- On the following day Thursday (< >10.am) they were again seen, from a distance of about 5 ft, in the Leacock property holding on to the fence of the Atkinson property and looking into the Preece property…one was wearing a mask.

The police were called and they came promptly. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

A tribute to assassinated Environmentalists

“She’s Alive” is a must-watch video

In Barbados we’ve seen for ourselves what happens when corrupt politicians and their developer friends want to turn public lands into private profits: they just do it. If laws stand in their way, they change the laws. Look at what happened to the Graeme Hall Wetlands and two National Parks.

If citizens stand in their way, activists are marginalized by whatever means the government thinks it can get away with. Sometimes that means using tax audits and agriculture inspections to communicate the government’s displeasure to an environmental activist. A tax audit or threats to shut down their business usually shuts people up. If the activist has a lighter shade of skin then a Minister of Government can declare on television that the opponent should be ignored because they are “Caucasian”, “rich and white” or “white plantocracy”. Sometimes three cane fields mysteriously burn three weekends in a row. Just ask “Caucasian Male” environmental activist Richard Goddard about all that.

If some of the land the government and their developer friends want is privately held, the government expropriates the land and very often doesn’t pay the owner. Then the land is transferred to “private concerns” for development. By strange coincidence, sometimes a Government Minister ends up living on the expropriated and never paid for land. Just ask Gline Clarke.

I don’t think we’ve had any Bajan activists murdered or beaten over environmental concerns, but there have been threats, incidents, break-ins and arson over environmental, political and social activism. Just ask Adrian Loveridge, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner and a host of other folks on this island.

The video “She’s Alive” is not only stunning and beautiful, it reminds us that standing up for a just cause can be dangerous when evil and powerful persons want their profits and don’t care about anything else.

Partial List of Assassinated Environmentalists

Chico Mendes – 1988
Ken Sarowiwa (Saro-Wiwa) – 1995
Dian Fossy – 1985
Joan Root – 2006
P.D. Majhi – 2007
Amit Jethwa – 2010

(Thanks to an old friend for suggesting this powerful video.)

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Human Rights

Barbados Tourism Authority’s Austin Husbands: Keep quiet about bad beaches, environmental damage.

UPDATED March 27, 2013

The tourist numbers are tanking – they have been tanking for a long time. Global financial problems are taking a toll, it’s true, but our numbers are especially bad and worse than most in the Caribbean.

Many folks think that a little more advertising will take care of things. That might get us a few more tourists, but that won’t cure the foundational problems that we have with our tourism product.

This article from our own Nevermind Kurt tells it fuh truth! We drove the old tourism economy taxi right into the ground without changing the oil or performing normal maintenance. We just made money with that old taxi until it could go no longer and we didn’t save for a new one. So here we are trying to make our living driving an old rust bucket of a taxi while everyone around us has a shiny new taxi. No contest where the customer will take their money!

Here’s our original article…

“We cannot continue with the Barbados Tourism Authority’s current philosophy of advertising instead of ensuring product quality. We have to change the road we’re on, or there will be nothing left for our children.” …BFP staffer Nevermind Kurt

“Maybe BTA should advertise some derelict properties as well. LOL Sometimes I wonder if we do not realize the damage we do to our island’s reputation Maybe frustration sets in but Barbados must come first CZMU and other agencies have a mandate, but quite often MONEY just is not there. ”

BTA Deputy Director Austin Husbands chides Mullins Bay Blog for posting an expose of destroyed beaches and empty hotels: You probably will not see this in the glossy Barbados tourism literature

Memo to the BTA: Deceiving tourists doesn’t help Barbados in the long run

by Nevermind Kurt (with Marcus)

When I first read Austin Husbands’ astonishing comment on the St. Peter, Barbados Facebook group, I became angry and started to write a slashing rant aimed squarely at the BTA’s Deputy Director. Then I sat back and thought about the tremendous pressures that our tourism industry and every Bajan is facing at this moment. I also thought that Mr. Husbands believes that he and our tourism industry are trapped by circumstance into carrying on with more of the same: concentrating on promotion rather than on product quality. (ie: “We need the tourist money NOW… no time for foundational changes. Advertise MORE!”)

I’m no longer angry at Mr. Husbands. I think he’s wrong in his approach, but I understand where he’s coming from. I understand his generation’s current desperation and exasperation that while the BTA spends tens of millions of dollars advertising and promoting a Perfect Image of Barbados, concerned Bajans and disgruntled visitors are posting photos of the truth online. Has Mr. Husbands ever read TripAdvisor or Carnival Cruise Lines forums? He should… every day.

“We ordinary Bajans and many of our Barbados regulars have a fundamental disagreement with the Mr. Husbands, the BTA and our political leadership about where our tourism industry is taking our country.”

Ordinary Bajans believe that there is no real plan, that it’s all happening willy nilly and that the long term good of Barbados is being shunted aside for short term profits and personal gain at the expense of our children’s future. Irreparable damage is being done – socially and environmentally – yet the vast majority of our tourism “leaders” can only see the next financial quarter. I understand that, but I’m also saying it’s time to get off the road we’re on. Continue reading

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

How can our new Chief Justice succeed without proper funding?

Politicians would rather spend money on frivolities than foundational infrastructure

by BFP reader RRRicky (with Marcus)

Our newly-appointed Chief Justice, Marston Gibson, gave an interview in the Antigua Observer where he laid out his plans to implement the new civil procedure laws that were passed in Barbados in 2008.

Good Luck to Chief Justice Gibson. He’s going to need lots of luck because luck is all he has: there is no money for the staffing and operational improvements he wants to make. We have a brand new court building (with a leaky roof) that we’ll be paying out forever (and we aren’t allowed to know who we’re paying or how much) but we don’t have court reporters, administrative assistants or legal researchers to empower the Judges and the Justice system.

How tragic: a beautiful building financed on the never-never – but no budget for sufficient people, computers and equipment to make the system work as it should. Nice building though!

Another difference is that referees do not have the same legal support structure as judges. They do not have law clerks or secretaries and, therefore, must do their own legal research when drafting opinions, Gibson said.

To that end, he said, he will be able to relate to judges in Barbados, who also do not have clerks and secretaries to help them.

“One of the big-ticket items for me is to try to give some thought to how I can get them some assistance, so that they can concentrate on judging and have some assistance with their research and their writing,” Gibson said.

Barbados Chief Justice Mastron Gibson in the Antigua Observer

Our Justice System is foundational to our society, so why don’t politicians fund it properly?

Think of the Justice System as necessary societal infrastructure: just like sewers, water, power, policing, health care, roads etc.. Barbados governments prefer to spend money on big flashy projects or small give-aways traded for votes: not on necessary infrastructure. A cricket showplace is sexy and a great photo opportunity – sewerage treatment plants are not vote-getter sexy.

Barbados governments don’t mind giving away millions for weed-eaters and lawn care equipment in a failed effort to make entrepreneurs out of block layabouts, but to provide funding to put sufficient telephones and court reporting equipment in the new court building? Never!

Seldom do our governments put adequate money into basic infrastructure like sewers, sidewalks, water distribution, policing, hospital or justice until things get so bad that they are falling apart. Consider the library. Think of the state of our health care facilities.

Chief Justice Simmons had conflicting loyalties… and the BLP usually came first

The last Chief Justice was an integral part of the politics and the political decisions that devoted spending to frills, not to the foundations of our society. Sir David Simmons left us with a shiny new building and a broken, understaffed court system where cases often drag on for over a decade and sometimes two! He and his BLP left us with a court system where accused persons spend years in jail waiting for trials that never happen. Sir David kept his silence about that because it was his own BLP comrades who were to blame.

Marston Gibson is different. I believe he will work with what he is given, but if it isn’t enough, his loyalty will be to Barbados and making our Justice System the best it can be. Chief Justice Gibson has already shown that he speaks his mind without concern for the political elites.

I like that. It gives me hope that we finally have a Chief Justice whose first loyalty is to the people, not to his old political comrades.

You watch: if the politicians don’t provide an adequate budget to allow Barbados to have the justice system it deserves, we’re going to hear about it right from the Chief Justice. There will be no whitewashing or looking the other way with this man.

I like that a lot.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Do you remember these British High Commissioners to Barbados?

We probably identified the wrong UK Diplomat “David Roberts” in our recent post Former UK Diplomat “Barbados badly needs plumbers but is turning out third rate lawyers by the dozen…”

Thanks to the efforts of BFP reader Elizabeth, we can now tell you that the “David Roberts” in our story might be Sir David A. Roberts, K.B.E., C.M.G., who served as the UK High Commissioner to Barbados from 1971 to 1973.

Elizabeth also sent us a complete list of British High Commissioners to Barbados since our independence, so we’ll reprint it here, along with the link to the entire list of British Ambassadors from 1880 to 2010.

Thanks Elizabeth, you’re a charm!

BRITISH AMBASSADORS 1880-2010 (PDF)

BRITISH AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS: 1880-2010
Introduction

These lists have been compiled from the information contained in the annual Foreign Office List(later renamed the Diplomatic Service List).

This invaluable source ceased publication however in 2006. In addition, latterly the annual editions only provided complete lists of the names of Ambassadors for the previous twenty years or so.

BARBADOS(from 1966):

John S. Bennett, C.B.E., C.V.O.: 1966-1970
Sir David A. Roberts, K.B.E., C.M.G.: 1971-1973
Charles S. Roberts, C.M.G.: 1973-1978
James S. Arthur, C.M.G.: 1978-1982
Viscount Dunrossil, C.M.G.: 1982-1983
Sir Giles L. Bullard, K.C.V.O., C.M.G.: 1983-1986
Kevin F.X. Burns, C.M.G.: 1986-1990
Emrys T. Davies, C.M.G.: 1990-1994
Richard Thomas, C.M.G.: 1994-1998
Gordon M. Baker: 1998-2001
C. John B. White: 2001-2005
Duncan J.R. Taylor, C.B.E.: 2005-2009
Paul Brummell: 2010-

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Filed under Barbados, History

WE TOLD YOU SO: Anti-Corruption legislation buried in dark hole

During the 2007 election campaign, the Democratic Labour Party promised to introduce Integrity Legislation and a Freedom of Information Act within 100 days of taking office. They put that in writing in Pathways to Progress, in press handouts and in newsletters and emails.

The DLP also promised to introduce a Ministerial Code of Conduct immediately upon taking office. They put that in writing too.

“Hello BFP folks…

The Ministerial Code takes effect immediately after a DLP government is elected. The Freedom of Information Act and Integrity legislation will be dealt with in the first 100 days in office…

Best regards
Reudon Eversley
Communications Director
DLP General Election Campaign 2008″

The DLP Lied

David Thompson lied about it. Freundel Stuart lied about it. Every DLP candidate lied about it.

You can say that the electorate was naive or ready to believe the DLP lies about Integrity Legislation because after 14 years of BLP corruption we were desperate. You can say the electorate was ready to be deceived, but it doesn’t matter.

We believed the DLP. We truly did. We had faith in the DLP candidates as people. We elected the DLP candidates and leadership because we believed their promises. We believed IN the DLP candidates as people of their word.

The DLP promises about what we called “ITAL” – Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation – were a big part of why Bajans elected a DLP government. That much was admitted at the time in the news media and in comments from foreign observers.

It has been over four years since those promises were made, and three years and seven months since the DLP Government took office and immediately broke their first promise by not implementing a Ministerial Code of Conduct on the first day.

Now we read in The Nation “The Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) wants Government to move quickly to redraft the Prevention of Corruption Bill, 2010 and get it back on the front burner” within six months.

DLP Strategy to make Integrity Legislation fail

We at Barbados Free Press earlier said that the inclusion of the private sector in the proposed Integrity Legislation was a DLP strategy to cause the legislation to fail, so they could blame it on the private sector. We said back in October, 2009…

A DLP insider reveals how David Thompson and his gang intend to sabotage Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information laws by expanding the promised laws to include private citizens and corporations.

This, of course, will throw a spanner into the works of any legislation. After if fails to pass due to public outcry, Thompson and his fellow piggies at the public trough will say, “Well, we tried our best.”

…from the BFP post Prime Minister Thompson’s new strategy for avoiding Integrity Legislation, FOI: “Private sector must be included in this legislation”

We also said that the DLP would delay the Integrity Legislation until just before the next election, so they could blame the BLP opposition for shooting it down or delaying it. That way the DLP would get to use Integrity Legislation for two election campaigns in a row while retaining all the benefits of not having the legislation in place while they are in government. A neat trick if they can pull it off.

It looks like we were correct. That’s unfortunate because we would rather have been proven wrong.

Member of Parliament William Duguid “No Barbados politicians will vote for Integrity Legislation”

It’s also unfortunate that the only politician who told the truth about the Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information was the Barbados Labour Party’s William Duguid, who was quoted on another blog saying that Integrity Legislation will never happen because no politicians of any party will ever vote for it. Duguid is moving to Canada so it doesn’t matter to him anymore if he speaks the truth.

Welcome to Barbados folks! Same old, same old ’bout hey. Continue reading

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

You can’t make a meal out of Barbados sugar. What fools we are.

Our old friend Colin Beadon posted the following lament about our agricultural failures in our Open Discussion section early Saturday morning. Colin’s post came just as we were reading comments from the US Ambassador to Barbados that our government’s support of sugar “defies logic.”

Here’s the thing, folks… We can’t profitably grow sugar cane for any purpose, whether for foreign or domestic sale, for food products or fuel. We used to do it, but the world changed and we can’t do it now. We’ve shown we can no longer do it.

But we can take that land and commit to growing foods that we can eat and market profitably. Food and water are in some ways, the new oil. (Photo by Shona)

Here’s what Colin had to say…

What utter Fools we are.

On the BBC 26th August.

” If you want to do well in coming times, become a farmer. For the best Expectations, go Far East.”

The number one growing problem in the world, is fast becoming one of Food. There seems to be a little staggering towards this realization in Barbados, at last, that something must be done with agriculture in a big way. There are those of us who have been constantly screaming about it, but our voices are now hoarse, and age has taken away our insistence.

But ”One day, one day, Congotay. That’s what the old people say.” Will the true revival of Barbadian agriculture come too late? Will we really ever start eating our own grown and raised food again, where we have control of what pesticides and what forms of fertilizers we use ?

There are so many great farmers, all over the world, suffering war, and drought, and all forms of persecution, and here we have land, going to useless waste, with good rainfall, and mostly mild conditions, and we have to import 90% of our food requirements. What utter fools, fools, fools we are.

Colin Beadon

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Sugar

Is Police Commissioner Dottin thinking about a curfew?

Curfew? Yes? No? Maybe?

At a recent function our friend Ian Bourne of Bajan Reporter provided Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin with an opportunity to say something positive about Barbados in light of the recent events and curfew in Trinidad and Tobago, and one presumes, Mexico.

Dottin’s reply was not exactly as Mr. Bourne expected and not at all what we at BFP would expect. Frankly, Commissioner Dottin’s response was as confusing as it was surprising. I can’t figure him out. Maybe you can…

Full story and audio at Bajan Reporter: Commissioner of Police in Barbados wastes opportunity to allay countrymen’s concerns: Trinidad’s curfew lingers

Editor’s Note: When this was first posted and titled we misread the Bajan Reporter’s story. It must have been our fault for surely a big time CBC Journalist like Ian Bourne would never write something that was unclear!  🙂

Our apologies to anyone who was totally offended by our error. That’s the great thing about the blogs – unlike the local newspapers and broadcast media where an error is never dealt with, here at BFP when something needs correcting the readership alerts us and the correction stays online.

We’ll leave the title as it is because there has been some trouble with crime lately and although we believe a curfew would be ill-advised and counter-productive, something has to be done. What should be done? Well, that’s another story…

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

US Ambassador to Barbados, 2006: Owen Arthur’s sugar decision “defies logic and sours prudent budget”

“Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.”

“This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.”

“Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.”

Mary Kramer, US Ambassador to Barbados, January 27, 2006

WikiLeaks just released a massive new treasure trove of US Embassy Bridgetown previously secret cables.

We’re looking at many of them in our article WikiLeaks: Massive release of Barbados US Embassy documents. You can help too by going to WikiLeaks Embassy Bridgetown page and digging in!

But we’re going to post this cable on its own because it makes for very interesting reading.

Considering our current economic situation, Barbados Labour Party supporters will jump right on this cable as vindication for Owen Arthur’s financial expertise. Aside from the sugar criticism, Ambassador Kramer gives a glowing report of Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

I don’t know about you, but I think that Ambassador Kramer was correct about our sugar industry: we might as well throw money into the sea than to keep flogging that dead horse.

Some quotes and then the full cable after the break…

What US Ambassador Kramer thought of Owen S. Arthur and his January 16, 2006 budget

“1. (SBU) Summary:  Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur presented his government’s 2006 economic and financial policies in a January 16 speech to parliament.  PM Arthur pledged to lower energy costs, cut taxes, boost pensions, and prop up manufacturing.  Most of the budget seems practical and will not greatly increase the country’s debt (around 88.0 percent of GDP).  The only major imprudent expenditure is a US$150 million investment into the island’s unprofitable sugar industry.  End Summary.”

With the parliamentary opposition in disarray (septel), a confident PM Arthur announced tax cuts, incentives to reduce energy costs, increased government investment in the sugar industry, loosened foreign exchange controls, and investment incentives.”

“4. (U) Barbados has prudently kept its government spending in check over the past few years, and Arthur said the fiscal deficit for the 2005-2006 fiscal year (ending in March 2006) will likely be just 1.7 percent of GDP, less than the target of 2.5 percent of GDP.”

“7. (SBU) According to a senior Bajan official, PM Arthur, an economist by training, cloisters himself away from his officefor several weeks to focus on the national budget, even refusing to meet high level visitors.  (Note:  General Craddock of SOUTHCOM visited during Arthur’s budget preparations and the Prime Minister declined to meet with the General.  End Note.)

8. (SBU) At the Embassy’s Martin Luther King Jr. reception, Dr. Marion Williams, Governor of the Central Bank, hinted to EconOff that she did not agree with many of the Prime Minister’s measures to liberalize foreign exchange controls.”

“Wasting Money on Sugar
———————-

9. (U) PM Arthur announced plans for a US$150 million facility including a 30 megawatt power plant and sugar cane processing facilities…

… Even at 523.7 Euros/ton, Barbados loses money on every ton of sugar it exports.  According to Erskine Griffith, the Barbados Minister of Agriculture, the Barbados yield ratio of 21 tons of sugar per acre of sugar cane is, “the lowest of any sugar producing nation.”  Griffith went on to say that producers in Brazil get up to 80 tons per acre…

…(Note: Guyanese sugar products are also imported in large quantities
to produce “Barbadian” rum.  End Note.)  Barbados cannot protect its local sugar market from CARICOM competition, given the free movement of goods provisions of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.  The government apparently will depend on nationalism to induce people to pay twice as much for local sugar as imported sugar…

11. (SBU) This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.  The cost of producing sugar on a small island with high labor costs and limited mechanization is astronomically higher than in Brazil or other major sugar producers.  Barbados is probably
one of the least efficient sugar producers in the world and cannot compete within CARICOM, much less on the world market.”

“Instead of exporting bulk sugar to the European Union at inflated prices, Barbados will be selling its sugar domestically at inflated prices.  Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.

12. (SBU) The true purpose of the US$150 million investment is not to protect the environment or to reduce energy costs, but to give sugar a future.  If Barbados were serious about protecting the environment and reducing its energy import bill, then the country could more cheaply accomplish both these goals by importing sugar cane ethanol from Brazil.

No matter what use for sugar cane Barbados comes up with, almost every other sugar producing country can grow it cheaper, harvest it cheaper, and process it cheaper.  Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.  End Comment.”

FULL CABLE Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Politics, Sugar

WikiLeaks: Massive release of Barbados US Embassy documents

Cornucopia of Secrets now online at…

WikiLeaks: Embassy Bridgetown

Come on, folks… Let’s dig in together and see what we can find!

Note – Saturday morning

I’m off to work soon and when Marcus gets up (he worked nights on Friday) he’ll continue surfing through the new WikiLeaks and posting the gems here. If our readers find something interesting, please leave a comment with the reference and we’ll feature it in the post…

Oh Joy!!!

WikiLeaks has released dozens and dozens of previously undisclosed cables from the United States Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados.

I’m drooling as I look at some of the titles. Here’s a few samples and paragraphs culled from the latest release…

February 21, 2006: BARBADOS CABINET RESHUFFLE INCLUDES FORMER OPPOSITION LEADER (link)

“Mascoll’s Reward – Mottley’s Lot”

“Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley will now head the newly created Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development, leaving her former post as Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs.  PM Arthur indicated that this shift would give Mottley the opportunity gain experience in the economic realm and allow her to focus on policy implementation. (Note: This shift plays directly to recent speculation that Arthur is grooming Mottley to replace him as Party Leader and PM sometime in the future. End Note.)”

January 18, 2006: LOCAL GUARD FORCE VEHICLES FUNDING REQUEST (link)

“Post requests funding to replace our existing two (2) LGP roving patrol vehicles that have exceeded their life-cycle:”

3.  Due to extreme wear caused by poor road conditions in Barbados, operational coverage is being affected. The existing patrol vehicles have experienced significant amounts of “down time”.  Both vehicles are currently in the shop for major mechanical repairs.

BFP Comments: I guess it makes sense that the US Embassy would have “Roving Patrol Vehicles” in Barbados. Interesting terminology. This Embassy cable also details what the replacement vehicles were requested.

MORE EMBASSY CABLES >>>>> Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

DLP and BLP: A brutal betrayal of trust, consumed by desire for power

“It is also scandalous for the DLP to have engaged in oil futures by stealth in the first place, because that action not only violates its Manifesto, but above all – is a cold and brutal betrayal of the trust and confidence placed in it by the people of Barbados.”

A Let-Down Compounded by Cold, Brutal Betrayal of Trust and Yet – a Hard Sell

Contributed anonymously through a European-based anonymity service

In many ways, it can be said that the ruling DLP continues to make a number of serious and costly errors, effortlessly but should consider itself fortunate that the Opposition BLP is not capatilising because it lacks focus on what is important to the people. By allowing itself to be distracted, the Owen Arthur led BLP is running the risk of being accused of failing in its fiduciary responsibility to hold the Government’s feet to the fire, in the interest of and defense of the people of Barbados.

The Opposition now seems motivated ‘only’ by the thought of obtaining the very prize, which can only be conferred on it by the same Barbadians it alleges – are suffering as a result of the policies of the DLP. Isn’t this ironic?

Given the BLP’s allegation – that it would still be compelled to make such an extra-ordinary effort (as it is now doing) is saying a lot. But, the BLP does not seem to get the point! Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Economy, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Politics

Barbados Member of Parliament: Rich whites not welcome

UPDATED: January 15, 2014

In the midst of our current economic crisis, one has to wonder how two decades of Bajan politicians’ hostile, xenophobic comments about whites, ‘curry boys’ (persons of Indian descent) and other foreigners have dried up offshore investment.

Politicians like Owen Arthur and Gline Clarke fanned racial intolerance whenever it was politically expedient, but the internet has made everything public and forever available. How much of our current financial and investment problems are the natural result of the money and tourists going to friendlier places?

Something to think about.

Here is the original article as first published August 24, 2011…

Barbados government should not deal with “Rich white boys”

contributed by “Former Barbados Tourist Mr. Kilkenny”

“Mister Speaker, I am appalled. I am really appalled that a government in two thousand and eleven would be dealing with a group of white, conservative, rich people.”

“If the member want me to withdraw ‘conservative’ I will withdraw it and substitute it with the word ‘rich’, I will substitute it with ‘a group of rich white boys’…”

MP Gline Clarke, former Minister of Public Works, expresses his disgust in Parliament that the current DLP government would do business with people of the white race.

No Concern in Barbados

The lack of news stories and comments on the internet say that very few Barbados persons are concerned about the outrageously racist statements in the Barbados Parliament by former Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke. There is precious little in the newspapers about what would be a “hanging offense” in the United Kingdom if an elected politician and representative of the people chastised the government for doing business with blacks or any other named race.  Continue reading

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Former UK Diplomat “Barbados badly needs plumbers but is turning out third rate lawyers by the dozen…”

UPDATED: August 29, 2011

Is/was there more than one “David Roberts” UK Diplomat? Apparently so!

We removed a link in our story to a certain David Roberts, previously with the UK Foreign Office, as we received the following email: “Please recheck the identity of David Roberts.  This is absolutely NOT the David Roberts who was the British High Commissioner to Barbados in the 1970s, who was balding and in his 50s or 60s.”

The book reviews and excerpts don’t provide a year for the David Roberts quotes below, but one of our readers (Thank you Elizabeth!) searched the old lists and came up with:

Sir David A. Roberts, K.B.E., C.M.G.: Barbados High Commissioner 1971-1973

This could be our man!

Here’s our original story…

David Roberts, at the time with the UK Foreign Office, said…

University of the West Indies…

Teachers “could not hold down a reputable job elsewhere.”

Alumni: “half-naked intelligentsia”

Well, if David Roberts really thought all that about us, he should have said so while he was here. Oh… he did, just not to our face – but authors Matthew Parris and Andrew Bryson recently obtained Roberts’ and other diplomatic reports under Freedom of Information and published them in a book called Parting Shots.

There’s no indication of when Mr. Roberts filed his report with the UK Foreign Office, except that it had to have been before 2006 because that’s when the valedictory exit reports ended – according to one book review. Mr. Roberts’ current venue is unknown but you can read a bit of what he thinks of us right here…

The High Commissioner to Barbados, David Roberts, sketched a situation by no means unique. “It is now the exception rather than the rule for a young and outstanding Barbadian to be educated at Oxford or Cambridge. Thus, through death, retirement or more lucrative employment, the generation of men who read greats, economics or law in the U.K., acquired an affinity with our way of thinking and an acceptance of our social values, and came home to govern Barbados, will pass away.

They will leave government in the hands of young men educated at the University of the West Indies, from which a half-naked intelligentsia is already coming forward. The new generation have largely been instructed by university teachers who could not hold down a reputable job elsewhere. A small country which badly needs carpenters, plumbers, engineers and so forth is turning out third-rate lawyers and sociologists by the dozen. It is good inflammable material for a political bonfire.”

… from the Frontline Magazine book review Diplomacy and Candour by A.G. Noorani

Okay, Mr. Roberts does have a point about turning out too many lousy lawyers and not enough skilled trades workers – but he sounds way too full of himself. His colonial nose is stuck so high in the air he wears loafers so he doesn’t have to look down to tie his shoes. Hmmm… I wonder if our wonderous reporters at The Nation will read Roberts’ entire report in the book and then ask Paul Brummell, the current High Commissioner, for comments?

And pigs will fly!

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Maachelle Farley teaches much more than piano

“The best thing we’ve done…”

I had to smile when I saw the email advertisement for Piano is Life sent around by our friends at Carib E-Trader (caribetrader.net).

“Build your child’s discipline and learning skills through piano tuition…”

How true that is, or could be – but it all depends upon the teacher. Parents can push all they want but if the teacher doesn’t love to teach and love young people, the kids sense that right away and it sets the stage for failure. Sorry to tell the truth, but too many musicians only “teach” to make money. It’s not what they are really about – they save their real love  and energy for the weekend gigs.

Maachelle Farley arrived home in Barbados with her music degree in hand and a burning desire to share her love and gift of piano with young people. Everyone knows that she has talent. Anyone who’s seen her play or sing at church or elsewhere can attest to that. But can she teach? And can she teach children?

Let me tell you…

Last November Maachelle opened her Piano is Life studio and according to our friends more than a few parents have discovered that she is delivering on her promises. The children are learning to play, and more: they are enthusiastic about their lessons and about practicing. Maachelle is practically bubbly with enthusiasm and love of music and the kids catch that from her.

For obvious reasons I can’t provide more details but I will tell you this… our friends say that going to Maachelle was “The best thing we’ve done…” for their child. They describe Maachelle as “half teacher, half coach”. They say they have seen a change in their child that goes way beyond playing piano. The child is more serious about everything and is focused on working hard to achieve goals of which music is just one.

I wondered if that was just normal development that the parents are seeing, but our friends credit Maachelle Farley with a big part of the maturing they see with their child. Who am I to argue?

So good luck to Maachelle as she continues to build her teaching career and reputation among parents. It’s also encouraging to see someone who could have made a good life for themselves in New York City or London decide to return home.

Why not give your child the opportunity to try piano lessons. You never know…

Piano is Life
Maachelle Farley

#128 Plum grove Christ Church, Barbados
Hours: Tues – Sat: 3:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Phone: 239-2487 / 420-9051
Email: pianoislife.mkf@gmail.com

Oops: Shona reminded me that Maachelle teaches adults too!

Photo: From the last Piano is Life recital. Definitely NOT the child I’m talking about in our post. PhotoShop treatment by Shona.

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Question for Taan Abed and DLP Executive: Any truth behind this cartoon?

Why did the DLP Executive Council overturn members’ choice of Taan Abed?

A little over a month ago at the DLP Christ Church West constituency’s candidate nomination meeting, Taan Abed won an overwhelming victory (86 to 5!) over lawyer Verla DePeiza.

The party leaders weren’t pleased that the constituency members soundly rejected the DLP’s anointed candidate, but that was no problem for the DLP leadership. The back-room boys stepped in and appointed DePeiza anyway. There. That showed those little nothing people who think they have a voice in Christ Church West!

So much for democracy and so much for process. What a sham. Typical political elites: If the rules or the law are inconvenient, or the outcome isn’t what the big-ups want – they just tell everyone to get stuffed and do what they like. Been that way ’bout this place for a long time, maybe four hundred years or so.

Why was Taan Abed’s selection overturned? Why did they bother to let him run in the first place if the whole selection process was a sham anyway? The party bosses were hoping that the constituency members would do the job for them, but when that didn’t work they stepped in.

Why was Taan Abed rejected by the DLP backroom?

Could it be that they know he is unelectable in Barbados because of his race?

Further Reading

Background story courtesy of Barbados Today: Dems drop Taan Abed

Please read the Barbados Today story at their website, but in case the story gets “accidentally” deleted as sometimes happens in Barbados, we’ll reprint the whole thing here. (We haven’t seen Barbados Today deleting a story for political reasons, but better safe than sorry etc. It happens all the time at the Nation and the Barbados Advocate.) Continue reading

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India vs. Barbados: Workers pay the price for cheap labour

YES WE CAN! be competitive with India: but do we want to be?

To West Side Davie and everyone at Barbados Free Press,

After reading West Side Davie’s letter about manufacturing in India and why Barbados cannot be competitive, I wanted West Side Davie and BFP’s readers to consider why we don’t want to compete with India.

The video of the Royal Enfield motorcycle factory and the skill of the gas tank painter were impressive, but if I may I would like to introduce you to the Royal Enfield painter’s dentist.

YES WE CAN be competitive with India, but in order match their labour prices we might have to make some concessions.

Ladies and Gentlemen of Barbados, if you please, meet the official dentist of Royal Enfield’s labour force…   

Further Reading

BFP – West Side Davie: Economy diversification for Barbados: What India’s Royal Enfield can show us

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Thomas Cook advertises 2 pounds a night holidays in Turkey

How tough is the tourism market right now? This tough…

“As nearly 2 million British delayed their vacation due to the economic crisis, leading British tourism agencies, including Thomas Cook, created new holiday packages that cost less than 2 pounds per night on Turkish shores, the agencies announced on their official websites on Monday.”

This cannot last. It is totally unsustainable – but will it take a bite out of our numbers for the next few months? I don’t know and I’d wager that the folks at the Barbados Tourism Authority don’t know much more than I do about this.

Hurriyet Daily News: UK agencies offering almost free holidays

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism