GEMS of Barbados website slickly deceptive

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Website implies GEMS still operates a chain of hotels – only operates one.

by Nevermind Kurt

We’re nearing the end of that failed adventure known as Hotels and Resorts and GEMS of Barbados hotels. The experiment in nationalizing the tourism accommodation industry now operates only one hotel – The Blue Horizon.

You’d never know that from their website though. True to form, it’s all show and no integrity as it deceives unknowing tourists into believing GEMS still operates The Savannah and Time Out.

The scandal of GEMS Hotels and Hotels and Resorts Inc. is a textbook lesson in how the political elites rape public funds and get away with it. Barbados tried to nationalize the hotel industry and lost hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps over a billion dollars – who knows? They won’t tell us how much we taxpayers lost.

Predatory Pricing by Government… upon privately-owned hotels!

By using tax funds to support an unprofitable operation the Barbados government also kept out other brands and undermined private hotels large and small. The government even subsidized the GEMS hotels room rates to keep them lower than possible in the private sector.

That was decidedly hostile to outside and domestic tourism investors who soon got the message: “Don’t invest in Barbados where your main competition is the all-powerful government.”

As so many learned the hard way, it’s not a level playing field when the Barbados Tourism Authority pushes government hotels over privately-owned businesses.

Except the GEMS project failed just as everyone predicted and now the government is begging outside investors to renew our aging hotel inventory. The Government should have thought of that when they originally established a business climate that was poison to private investment in tourism accommodation.

Can you imagine if we’d have used that now-gone billion dollars to renew our infrastructure and professionalize and expand our police force? As a country we would now be cleaner, safer and more attractive as a tourism product. But no… we “invested” that money in buying run-down hotels, subsidizing years of losses and then selling the hotels at big losses.

GEMS of Barbados was a stupid thing to do… unless you were one of the inner circle personally profiting from the scheme…

… and then it was brilliant!

Further Reading

February 24, 2010: Barbados Government GEMS Hotels folly continues. Where did all our money go? Three remaining GEMS hotels valued at only $74 million!

May 17, 2007: What Happened To The Money From Hotel and Resorts Ltd’s Assets Sale? How Much Went Into David Shorey’s Pocket?

November 19, 2000: Nation News – The Question of Corruption, GEMS

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption

5 responses to “GEMS of Barbados website slickly deceptive

  1. charlies aspin 1234

    Should anyone be surprised, after all this is Barbados

  2. Anonymous

    Another project gone south and again no accountability. BFP needs to do more exposes on the direct beneficiaries of the fiasco – both in government and private sector.

    On another note, I read with interest David Rice’s interview on the state of the tourist industry which was in the Sunday Sun.

    Rice did a good job answering the very “soft” questions asked and that also raises doubts about the standard of local journalism.

    What I wanted to hear was what was going on with sports tourism under his watch and why Senator Peter Gilkes left the BTA board after working hard to bring world class sailing events to Barbados.

    Sailing is one of the segments that we need to target more as it costs us nothing to host with the wonderful natural blessings at Brandons and Carlisle Bay. We are now in danger of losing the 505s world championships – for which the Senator was spearheading the bidding – after he was key in getting the fireballs here two years ago.

    Rice should also explain why there are currently just two persons working in the sports department for the past few months, after the department functioned well for the last year with five persons?

    In fact it was noticed that the interviewer stayed far away from sports tourism which has been lauded by the Minister as the key to growth in the sector, but which is currently in a really bad state with a man a year from retirement heading the department.

    It is this type of mismanagement along with the scandals of GEMS that is killing tourism in Barbados as outsiders are observing and forming opinions and judgement.

    A sailing enthusiast!

  3. Anonymous

    Barbados has specialised in smoke-and-mirrors tourism advertising for decades now.
    This comes as no surprise, whatsoever.

    What we advertise -and what we actually have to sell -are two different things
    and it’s going to remain that way, because that’s how Bajans advertise their island.
    They big it up like it’s the best-est destination in the UNIVERSE
    (never mind the world)
    without regard for what visitors will actually find “on the ground” when dey reach
    and that will be….litter -it’s everywhere, simply everywhere!

  4. Anonymous

    We haven’t got a freakin clue, have we…

  5. Seeker

    Bajans never did!

    SMH…it ‘s not good when we live in a world where nobody’s “getting it” anymore…at least, not the “it” that truly matters!