Minister Sealy takes 135 Tourism Ministry employees to Guyana for weekend retreat… WTF?

Didn’t we have enough empty hotel rooms to hold the conference in Barbados?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

It’s true that you can find diamonds in the rubbish bin and pearls of tourism knowledge in Guyana – a country known for it’s high-end tourist market just like Barbados. We might have our “Platinum Coast” but Guyana has its famous “Driftwood Swamp” that is home to international stars and billionaires like, ah… ah… Give me a minute, I’ll get back to naming them later.

There is much we can learn from Guyana’s tourism industry and that is probably why Minister Sealy (photo above) is spending hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to take his people away for a weekend in Guyana.

Joking aside, don’t we have enough empty hotel rooms to hold the conference in Barbados?

I’m not a Tourism Ministry employee. I admit I probably don’t understand the necessity of spending this kind of money in these times, and I probably don’t understand what will be accomplished in Guyana that could not have been accomplished here at the Hilton. It may be that Guyana will be sending 135 people to Barbados next week for their conference and we’ll get all this money back.

Can anyone explain how this makes sense?

Yours truly,

Dazed and confused in French Village

Barbados’ Tourism Minister Richard Sealy has led a 135-person contingent from his ministry to Guyana for a weekend retreat.

According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the retreat is part of a fact finding mission and Minister Sealy expressed appreciation for the warm welcome which he stressed was given even before the contingent arrived in Guyana. He indicated that the trip to Guyana is a fact finding one since the two countries have two different tourism packages to offer.

Stabroek News: 135-person Barbados tourism contingent on fact finding mission


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

45 responses to “Minister Sealy takes 135 Tourism Ministry employees to Guyana for weekend retreat… WTF?

  1. Adrian Loveridge

    I am ALL for increasing product knowledge, but should it not start at home and principally benefit the people that are paying your wages?
    In 24 years, only two Ministers of Tourism (Peter Morgan and Sir Harold St. John) have every visited our hotel.
    Not a single President/CEO or Chairman of the BTA, Permanent Secretary of the MOT and you can count on almost one hand the number of senior BTA staff.
    While the private sector is under considerable cost containment pressure
    isn’t it also down to Government to strictly control unnecessary expense?
    Perhaps if the 135 people on this trip better unstood exactly what OUR product is, then the BD$92 million annual budget just might to spent more effectively.

  2. watcher

    check out the cost of hotels in Guyana and then the price at the Hilton and it might of saved us money. Red Jet flys there pretty cheaply. Maybe there is a hidden message to the operators in Barbados…..

  3. Adrian Loveridge


    A good point but sadly not valid.
    Best available room rate at the Pegasus this weekend is US$100 plus 16% tax for weekend nights and US$150 plus 16% tax for other nights.
    This is at time when our largest hotel group is offering 7 nights ALL inclusive,
    including transfers for 2 adults and 2 children (up to 16 years) Ocean View Room through GROUPON, which means after commission the hotel is getting less than US$135 per night including tax.
    If all 135 people are staying at the same hotel, then choice would be limited to two or three properties.

  4. He should have stayed at Status International, formerly Zoom Inn on Croal Street not excellent but serviceable

  5. Voice from afar

    Jolly Boys Outing

  6. watcher


    I recetly stayed at the Princess hotel, formerly Buddiy’s international hotel for $86 per night US$. I was able to negotiate that rate for a 12 night stay. It has a great pool, excellent service and very clean rooms. I could also buy a 1 .75 litre bottle of decent rum for $6 us in Guyana Just bought the same size bottle of rum in Barbados and the cheapest I could find was $34.99 or about $17 US. So Barbados rum is 3 times the price of Guyana Rum and likewise so are most hotel rooms. of the qualit of the Princess. Got there on REd Jet as likley the Mnisters staff did. Lot of people on that Red Jet plane going to Guyana to holiday.

    The beches are certainly nicer in Barbados..when you can see them. But if you want a good holiday and a great price Guyana getting hard to beat and with the currency at about 200 to 1 there are some real god deals.
    …and they have a real Casino

    . .

  7. Adrian Loveridge


    Please don’t get me wrong. I think Guyana is a wonderful place and some of the most welcoming people in the region.
    I am just questioning if it is right to expect the hoteliers to keep staff employed here, while we currently have around 3,500 empty rooms each night while the Government uses taxpayers monies to ‘export’ that employment somewhere else?

  8. yatinkiteasy

    This report confirms my belief that the Minister is a moron.

  9. Sick of this crap!!!!!

    Why do you bastards write such shit – everybody paid their own way!!!!! me included

  10. Loreto

    I was due to travel with this group to Guyana and unfortunately due to other commitments had to cancel. Like everyone else in the group I paid my own way and even purchased a Barbados T-shirt. You should really check out the facts before you print these allegations. It was open to all persons working in tourism and not only Minister Sealy’s employees.

  11. Adrian Loveridge


    ‘Barbados Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy led a 135 person contingent from his Ministry’

    ‘his ministry’

    And you stated that this trip ‘was open to all persons working in tourism and not only Minister Sealy’s employees’

    Where was this ‘open to all persons working in tourism’ trip advertised then.
    Were the BHTA informed?

    And lastly, was this trip subsidised by the taxpayer, at all ie: departure tax etc. ?

  12. NYC/BGI

    whether yiu paid your own way or not the retreat was a paid vacation since there was nothing new going on. most retreats invite sucessful purvayers of sucessful results. THAT MEANS inviting proven sucessful tourist boards to infuse the dynamics needed to revive youe BTA, This means thing outside the box and until that happaens the BTA will be saddled with dismal results. for example there was a Food and Wine festival in BGI and i bet the results were dismal.WAKE up before its to late because CUBA will open up soon and that will drain and effect arrivals to BGI.

  13. British Bajan Gal

    Cuba seems to be appealing to lots of travellers who, once upon a time, would go to Barbados. You cant beat the price of £1100 for 14 days (10 all inclusive beach & 4 B&B Havava town) including flights.

    Barbados have become out of reach for the normal traveller. Im visiting in April, flight & accommodation is setting me back £1000 for 2 weeks. No all inclusive or B&B, so with meals etc, im looking at £2,000. Thats two holidays to Cuba in two centres!!

    Watch out Barbados….. Cuba my next destination.

  14. BFP

    Hi Loreto,

    That’s the great thing about blogs. One person posts something and then others chime in. Very unlike a newspaper.

    So tell us please how much was the cost of the outing, what was the intent? How many Tourism Ministry employees went? Surely they didn’t pay their own way? No way that happened, right?

    Thanks for your input.

  15. millertheanunnaki

    British Bajan Gal:December 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm
    “Watch out Barbados….. Cuba my next destination.”

    So true and the BTA and other players are at a loss to stem the tide!
    Barbados will be the first of the East Caribbean tourism destinations to suffer a collapse of numbers from the UK.
    Cuba is the new Spain in the Caribbean for Brits!
    First the Canadians then the Brits and other Europeans. The Americans will follow the path to experience the Ernest Hemingway legend.
    We are back to where we all started! The only saving grace for Bim is to export its trained people to Cuba, starting with those in the hotel & tourism industry. (We have done it before: Panama, Cuba, Trinidad, Guyana, etc; time to give Bim a break to heal!)

  16. Pingback: Adrian Loveridge shares “secrets” of tourism business success – but BTA and government aren’t interested | Barbados Free Press

  17. yatinkiteasy

    Good News…Barbados is top ranked in the most recent survey of least corruptible countries. That is, where Public Officials can be bribed, etc.

    Venezuela is down at the bottom of the list,(most corrupt) and yet our Caribbean Governments(including Barbados) decided to be part of Chavez`s new Group CELAC, as an alternative organization to the OES. that purposefully excludes the US and Canada.Chavez thinks he is Simon Bolivia, but he has failed Venezuela terribly, during a time of unprecedented wealth from oil, which he has squandered ,
    Let us not get into bed with this crackpot.

  18. Dangerous man that Chavez.

    Sounds like we are already subtly in bed with the crackpot.

  19. St. Andrew resident

    permit me to add my two cents- my oldest daughter is an employee in the Tourism Development at the Tourism Ministry she went on the fact finding retreat which she explained was also a team building initiative started last year with a tour to Grenada.
    She tells me each member of the group paid their own way from air fare to hotel rooms- Not one red cent of taxpayers monies was spent..
    My daughter told me the weekend tours were eye openers on different tourism products allowing her to interact with public sector tourism workers she never met- She said the experience was made more richer by interchange with tourism stakeholders in the the destinations visited.
    She said the Bajans were hosted by the Grenada Ministry of Tourism and Guyana Ministry of Tourism..

    For her it was an educational and progressive paradigm shift in which she was able her to measure up the destinations visited against Barbados.
    She insists she’s ready to go again.
    she says Adrian loveridge and bdos free press are liars if they claim otherwise.

  20. Voice from afar

    ”hosted” now there’s a word.
    What happens if any reciprocal arrangements are made .
    Who pays then?.

  21. Adrian Loveridge

    St. Andrew Resident,

    Laudable, even more so as she seems to have taken the trips in her own time and not as you indicate during her normal taxpayer working hours and days at the Ministry.
    I hope the same enthusiasm will be put into to research our own tourism product, so that she has something to compare the offerings of Grenada and Guyana with.
    Of course she could have done of lot of networking and become very much better informed by visiting one of the seven annual re-DISCOVER the Caribbean shows.
    But I suppose the fact the BTA didn’t even want a stand at the last show would have made it too embarassing to attend.

  22. Voice from near Peach and Quiet

    @Mr. Loveridge. Is it true in 2007 a certain Minister went to visit Peach and Quiet but before he get out the car the neighbours bawl out it close for most of the year and when it open the premises dont have security. Yes or no Mr. L?

  23. Dark and Lovely

    First Thing First It wasn’t even a 135 of us..Secondly i must say what a great tour it was in Guyana and i was one of those persons who paid my money just like the minister and the others did to enjoy our trip so before you’ll go MISS LEADING THE PUBLIC get your facts straight! I think you should encourage other to visit the Island and see how nice it is as we are one CARIBBEAN!!!

  24. Adrian Loveridge


    Absolutely not true and highly malicious,

  25. just asking

    Hear Adrian :”I am just questioning if it is right to expect the hoteliers to keep staff employed here, while we currently have around 3,500 empty rooms each night”
    REAL Adrian:Is it true in 2007 a certain Minister went to visit Peach and Quiet but before he get out the car the neighbours bawl out it close for most of the year.
    Hear Adrian: “Come to my Re Discover Show my Caribbean brothers where you can market your resorts to Barbadians.”
    REAL Adrian:I am ALL for increasing product knowledge, but should it not start at home Barbadians should not go to Caribbean destinations.

  26. hardly likely miller; cuba has in excess of 11million people and in most of the major disciplines, people work day on/ day off on 24 hour basis at wages ranging from the eqivalent of 11.30 per month us in the service industry to about 42.00us per month in the medical field to about 53.00 us per month in the protective services. barbadian service industry workers cannot teach the workers in cuba anything. the service industry workers in cuba are programmed to work, work, work and they are highly trained and efficient in all aspects of service.the problem cuba will face when they seek to expand in any endeavour is the inefficiency in the decision making process managed by incompetent party operatives.cuba has a long way to go after the departure of the ancient rulers who after fifty years of revolution still preach a gospel of struggle by the masses whose sole aim of living should be to die for a revolution which benefit the elite.sort of animal farm thing there.

  27. dark and lovely, it is a pith your minister didn’t visit guyana before and experience the hospitality of its people before participating in an ill-conceived policy which only served to marginalise our caribbean brethren and hold bajans up to ridicule unnecessarily .

  28. Antz

    I am reliably informed that SMI has been unable to souce the funding required to carry the Pierhead Marina project, maybe this needs a little public ventilation. I guess this was one of the risks of awarding a contract to a non-bidder who was not experienced or qualified in marina construction.

    I think Mr. Andrew Marryshow, the Chairman of BTI and Mr. Chris de Caires, the Deputy Chairman of BTI should called to account for awarding a contract to a NON-BIDDER and also explain the potential liability for the BTI as it relates to the recent suit by Lagan for BDS$70 million dollars

  29. uneducated

    balance December 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

    balance what you on about your comment does not take into account the many Guyanese drug smugglers at Dodds who brought in cocaine in logs etc. They hold beautiful Guyana up to ridicule everyday.

  30. 254

    The majority of those on the trip did indeed pay their own expenses, including airfare and accommodation.
    What needs to be questioned is why BTA President/CEO David Rice travels as often as he does!!! It is said he is the most traveled chief executive in the history of the BTA, with most of his trips to the USA – where his wife of less than a year resides…hmmm

    The BTA’s new chairman Adrian Elcock, also seems to do quite a lot of travelling, certainly more than his predecessor, Ralph Taylor ever did, and seems to be functioning like an executive chairman by attending and chairing plenty of meetings, even when the CEO is present.

    The trip to Guyana is just the continuance of an initiative started last year to Grenada and just like that experience, I found this trip enlightening, refreshing and certainly motivating.

    I am sure it will help me and many others that took it and who work in the industry, better able to do our jobs.

    It cost the tax payers nothing for over 95% of those who went!!!

  31. BFP

    Hello 254,

    If it’s exactly as you say, that’s good to hear. There’s no reason that there shouldn’t have been that kind of transparency up front from those in charge, but we never seem to get that respect from those who spend our money.

    Please tell us more about how much you paid for the trip, whether it was subsidized at all, and most of all how you and others benefited. I’m also curious why many in the Bajan travel and hospitality industry apparently weren’t invited. How were the invitations handled? Why was there no public invitation to the entire Bajan travel industry? Who selected the invitees and under what criteria?



  32. Adrian Loveridge

    I think doubts were created unnecessarily due to poor reporting by the Guyana Media and maybe the Guyana Government Information Agency (GINA) with if you read the article carefully quoting ‘ Barbados’ Tourism Minister Richard Sealy has led a 135 person contingent from his ministry’.
    Secondly, one contributor mentioned that this trip had been offered to ALL persons working in tourism. As someone that works in tourism, I personally knew nothing about the trip and if our trade association (BHTA) did, they they certainly didn’t tell all their members about it.
    Was it perhaps just displayed on a poster at George Street?

    Just like the newly appointed Sports Tourism Consultant at $120 per hour plus. It really needs to be explained better, even if our Government isn’t footing the bill.

  33. Artaxerxes

    It seems that this contribution has certainly hit the last nerve of a party supporter who has been relentless in trying to convince all and sundry that this trip to Guyana was above board.
    However, although I am not too “bright”, after examining the contributions of “Sick of this crap”, “Dark and Lovely”, “St. Andrew Resident”, and to some extent “254”; based on the phrasing, placement of the punctuation marks, [note the double use of “full stops” – ..], I am convinced that they are the same person.
    This administration came to office on the background that they were going to implement FOI and integrity legislation in 100 days. It is now four years and all we had was a lack lustre approach to bring a draft bill before parliament. They had 18 years to draft something substantial, 14 in opposition and four as the government. Time and time again we are witnessing situations where public funds are being spent, with no information forthcoming. For example, $250,000 spent on a trip to Australia, $300,000 for the football tournament; funds are being spent without accountability and freedom of information to the public. Against this background, I think that every Barbadian has the right to question this trip to Guyana.

  34. Constant Gardener

    Art however you slice and dice your list of public funds spent by the Dems its light years away from the $30 mil spent errr wasted at Greenland.
    Hell the Dems have’nt even come close to monies spent by BLP on Hardwood’s non existent houses and the cutting down of the ackee tree.
    Wheel and come again Ass ahmm Art.
    Bajan memories short but not that short.

  35. massas bo'

    Well Bo!!! You gettin a long shaft of sunlight in your rear verandah.Get used to the feelin, it gets quite nice after the first few times.
    Fruendel man is away over de hill and faraway,40 odd million for a roundabout up Warrens way.Well if de pot empty gotta fill it for it can be emptied .
    Slimey as an eel slippery as a snake.So whats new?
    What you wanna know about Guyana trip,100 odd somebody people ,like aint that normal?
    Looka at de eyes dey mirror to de soul !!
    Masah loveridge just pissed cos he never got no Guyana bake chicken.
    Pay no mind to he.Just miffed cos Mr Sealey eat up all de roast fowl.

  36. at least mr loveridge has had the balls however slight to disagree with some aspect of govt policy without drawing reference to the ills of the former administration.

  37. uneducated bajans get lock up in other countries for drugs too but that does not give the immigration authorities in those countries to ill treat bajans or treat all bajans as drug pushers.

  38. Stable-man

    Loveridge upset he get FIRED from the BTA. He is a political novice and was behaving in the board meetings like if he alone knew everything there was to know about tourism matter.

    News Flash, News Flash…………….Loveridge does talk plenty nonsense but because he from over an away we shame to tell him his ramblings are nonsense.

  39. alex

    Adrian loveridge & Ian Bourne and a few other unhappy guys seem bent on being malicious and twisting around a good thing, I have been on both tours to Grenada and Guyana i paid my own money and i don’t work in the ‘ministry’ . why so bitter.

  40. All I said was I stayed at Status Int’l formerly Zoom Inn, so how does my name get here? Stay on topic Alex, your Gov’t is taking a well deserved flogging!

  41. careless whispers

    Ian methinks Alex hear that you pops Dessie, you and Loveridge does run this stinking bfp blog.

  42. My father is almost 80 & dying, even when better he could not tell the difference between an URL or HTML or Flash, for him Flash was a super-hero… He only used a fax and typewriter for the Nation before Kaymar cut him off in her usual sagacity… So this is really a joke beyond a journey! As for me & BFP, I have barely time to comment while doing my own Bajan Reporter, choopse! BFP is also supposed to be? Katrina Goddard, Adrian Loveridge, Ricardo Marshall, Peter Allard – it is a DEM, it is a Bee… Comprende?

  43. Arttaxerxes

    @ Constant Gardener

    What you take issue with is that this current administration has incurred more debt in four years than the previous administration did in 14 years, even if you add Greenland and Hardwood.
    On the issue of Hardwood Housing, your David Thompson said that he was going to authorise a forensic audit of that company. Do you care to tell us:
    (1) If that audit was ever done, and if so what were the results?
    (2) Has anyone been taken before the courts or prosecuted as it relates to the “missing houses”?
    (3) If you have any evidence to present, other than innuendo, that there were breaches of the law that we could get someone locked up?
    Just like any political yardfowl/pimp, you are just repeating what your political gods were saying, all the talk about corruption, and up to this day no evidence has been forthcoming.
    You have to go George Street Headquarters and ask Hammie Lah about the ackee tree, he is in your party.
    Who is the jackass now?

  44. Newbie

    It is indeed interesting that after all the hype and highlighting of the Hardwood issue that nothing seems to have come of it. Was there anything to it in the first place or is the public being kept in the dark as to the outcome of any inquiry. Where is the TRANSPARENCY legislation that we were PROMISED. When Governments can do what they want we all have to be very careful even to open our mouths and speak.