Monthly Archives: April 2012

Court witness held at gunpoint, tied up, beaten at home. Serious head injuries.

Some lawsuits just aren’t worth it in Barbados

“Kiss yuh rasshole bitch. We will kill you while you are asleep. Lock your doors and windows real good.”

“Marjorie Knox… If we evah fine she anyway bout Barbados we gine bus open she fucking head wid a big rock.”

Some of the anonymous internet threats to murder witnesses in the Kingsland Plantation court case as revealed at Keltruth Blog

“For seven long months in 2007/2008 the official WordPress blog of the Barbados Labour Party linked to the BFPE blog (Barbados Free Press Exposed) that published threats against many people, including threats to murder Adrian Loveridge, to burn down his business, and to rape his wife.”

… from the BFP story Barbados Labour Party Blog Removes Link To Website Threatening Murder Of Adrian Loveridge

Readers of Barbados Free Press are well familiar with the story of the long-running court battles over the Kingsland Plantation Estate, and the many years of threats and violent incidents against Marjorie Knox, her family members and witnesses testifying for Mrs. Knox. Even persons who (to our knowledge) have nothing to do with the court case but were mis-reported as being involved were subject to threats and violence – as happened to Adrian Loveridge and his wife.

Member of Parliament Dr. Duguid even confirmed that some of the violent anonymous internet threats against the Knox family originated on a computer at the Barbados Parliament Members’ Lounge. Something to think about, for sure.

These threats and acts of violence at pretty well standard operating procedure for some in Barbados. Wunna be careful if suing certain cartels… because you are likely to find your house set on fire like this or this.

Even high court Justice Randall Worrell (above) is worried about a trend that is undermining our court system and threatening the very fabric of our society: witnesses don’t want to testify to the point that they are changing their stories or running off the island. Court witnesses in Barbados are very afraid.

When the police cannot or will not protect witnesses, can we expect anything else?

Now we read on Keltruth Blog that Kingsland witnesses were recently held at gunpoint and beaten in what looks like a continuation of the threats and violence against Marjorie Knox and her family, who are engaged in an ongoing court battle against powerful Barbados cartels.

Welcome to Barbados folks: a paradise for tourism, business investments and offshore banking…

… until it goes wrong and you launch a lawsuit to find justice. Then they burn your house, beat you within an inch of your life, fire you from your job, urge strangers to stalk you and threaten to rape your wife while your court case takes 20 years to get to trial.

That’s right. Twenty years for a court case to reach trial in Barbados.

Meanwhile, you had better watch your back…

It was Thursday, April 19th, another peaceful day in the country. Around one thirty in the afternoon, John K. casually drove into the front yard of Old Hanson House in the parish of St. George, Barbados. He stuck his key into the lock of the front door, totally unaware that he was being watched. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law

Prince William’s brother-in-law, James Middleton, represented Matt Ames’ Ponzy scheme

Kate’s brother – James Middleton, right, at the carbon trade exhibition in London October 2010

‘Forestry for Life’ Audit showed no evidence of clients’ money invested

Failed Ames’ scheme ‘guaranteed’ 12 percent annual interest

Matt Ames refused to explain investors’ missing £1.2million.

by Clanger

Apparently Harlequin’s David Ames schooled his son Matt in the Harlequin Resorts’ management style and business plans. The younger Matt set up two firms to trade in global warming carbon credits and found investors suckers to pony up £1.2million – which money is long gone. Fraud charges were laid by police.

Global warming carbon credits: What could be more profitable? (Answer: Just about everything.)

The younger Ames refused to answer questions at creditors’ meetings because reporters were present – so he said. The reality was that he probably didn’t want to further incriminate himself. The destroyed ‘investors’ (mostly ordinary people who had saved money over decades of retirement planning) wanted to know what happened with their missing money. They wanted some accountability as to how much was spent on ‘management expenses’ and ‘promotion’. They wanted to know how much the scheme really made from trading carbon credits so they could tell how much of a real business effort this was.

“Latest accounts for the firms showed no evidence of clients’ money invested, or carbon credits traded.”

From the Echo News article Director of failed firms questioned by investors over missing £1.2million

Investors got nothing from Ames: no answers, no accountability, no respect.

Reading the Echo news article from March, 2011 last year it sure has the smell of another Ponzi scheme where first in investors are paid with new investors’ money. How on earth can anyone guarantee 12 percent interest? The answer is “Only by using new investors’ money to pay off the earlier ones to keep their mouths shut.”

Matt Ames was charged by the Serious Fraud Office, but further details of the story are strangely absent from the internet.

And then we learned that Prince William’s brother-in-law, James Middleton, represented Matt Ames’ company in 2010. Aha! That might explain everything about the absence of followup news stories.

On March 14, 2012 at 13:16hrs, TripAdvisor reader ‘BHP’ said:

Things do seem to be coming to a head – and the Matt Ames Forestry for Life fraud case must be heading to the courts very soon as well. Can Carter Ruck keep a lid on it? – will the past connection to the future king’s brother in law during the Queens Jubillee year be allowed to surface or will the press pass over that?

Indeed, indeed! Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Real Estate

More grass fires in Fortesque, St.Philip – when will this abuse stop?

click photos for large

Will the government charge the owner of the building lot? You mek sport!

It’s Friday evening in Fortesque, St.Philip and another lot is going up in smoke. It’s a cheap way to clear the land for building: dangerous for the neighbours, but cheap.

More people suffocating in their houses and once more the fire department had to put it out.

Is it really so difficult to guess who lit the fire and why?

When will the powers that be act?

Previous fires reported by BFP

April 15, 2011: Deliberate fire in St. Philip “Irresponsible madness”

May 5, 2008: Scorched Earth At Merricks, St. Philip, Barbados

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment

Attention UWI Cave Hill philosophy majors: Your country needs you!

 

Now this is funny, but probably not to half the folks at Cave Hill.

Not because they won’t get the joke, but because they will…

The only thing that can stop this asteroid is your Liberal Arts Degree

By now you’re probably wondering what this is all about, why FBI agents pulled you out of your barista job, threw you on a helicopter, and brought you to NASA headquarters. There’s no time, so I’ll shoot it to you straight. You’ve seen the news reports. What hit New York wasn’t some debris from an old satellite. There’s an asteroid the size of Montana heading toward Earth and if it hits us, the planet is over. But we’ve got one last-ditch plan. We need a team to land on the surface of the asteroid, drill a nuclear warhead one mile into its core, and get out before it explodes. And you’re just the liberal arts major we need to lead that team…

… continue reading The only thing that can stop this asteroid is your Liberal Arts Degree by Mike Lacher

 

15 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Education

Journalist: Harlequin Properties’ David Ames worked with Danish pimp / thief in Thailand rip-off development!

Video documents rip offs of U.K. military veterans and retirees

Barbados Central Bank Governor says he’s relying on Mr. Ames for foreign direct investment inflow!

Ladies and gentlemen: the mongoose has just entered the chicken pen. If this is true (and who are we to doubt David Ames himself on video in Thailand?) then our leadership should be doing some serious tap-dancing. Our Central Bank Governor just informed the world that Barbados is basing our growth expectations in part on Harlequin’s Merricks development. Woe! Oh woe!

Six years ago the Pattaya People Media Corporation began heavily promoting Harlequin Property and Thailand Property and Media Exhibition Company Ltd.

Now it has become clearly obvious that Harlequin run by Essex former double glazing salesman – turned bankrupt – David Ames, and taken over in Thailand by Richard Haughton, a former President of the Rotary Club, Pattaya Jomtien, has caused untold misery to, well, thousands.

In this video we look at how their development projects were promoted on local television, the real victims, and how a media baron reacted when he was asked to step in.

… from former Daily Mail investigative journalist Andrew Drummond: Video Exclusive: CROSSING THE LINE

Somebody remind me… how did we as a nation expose ourselves so completely to a fast-talking, former bankrupt, double glazing salesman from the U.K. ???

My god… if this is true, what have we done?

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

SHOCKER: Central Bank Governor says Merricks and Four Seasons Resorts will provide foreign direct investment inflows in 2012… WHAT? !!!

UPDATED: October 31, 2012

In light of the recent disastrous financial performance stats for the Barbados economy and the statements from Dr. Delisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados – BFP revisits Dr. Worrell’s upbeat commentary from April, 2012.

What happened? How could Dr. Worrell be that wrong?

Or… as we surmised at the time… was he just shining us on?

Well Dr. Worrell? How about just the truth? We’re big boys and girls and we can handle it. What we can’t handle is more bullshit.

Thank you.

BFP’s original article…

Shining it on a bit too much?

Yesterday Dr. Delisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, posted a professionally-done video on YouTube that is essentially an advertisement of our economic strategies and long term stability. The script was also published at Business Barbados.

That’s fair enough – but how much shining on can there be before eyebrows start to raise? True, we should be putting our best face forward but at a certain point if you push too far the whole message can start to lose credibility.

As Auntie Moses told Shona as a child, “I catch one lie, I think you all lies.” Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Economy

Internet effectiveness: Barbados excellent, Trinidad and Tobago among the worst in the world…

Effective Governance Key to Caribbean ICT Development

by Gerard Best

PORT OF SPAIN.  Trinidad and Tobago jumped three spots to place 60th overall out of 142 countries in the 2012 Global Information Technology Report, published earlier this month by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Even with its slightly improved ranking, Trinidad and Tobago lagged behind other Latin American and Caribbean countries such as Barbados (35th) and Puerto Rico (36th), although it outperformed several larger territories in the region, including Brazil (65th), Jamaica (74th) and neighbouring Venezuela (107th).

A closer look at the report’s Networked Readiness Index reveals that the reasons for Trinidad and Tobago’s middling performance on the global stage were more closely related to gaps in leadership deficiencies than deficiencies of a technological nature. One telling statistic: although Trinidad and Tobago had top ranking (1st) in the mobile network coverage category, the country still ranked 82nd in terms of affordability of mobile rates, and in terms of Internet and telephony competition–a dismal 117th. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Technology, Trinidad and Tobago

Afra Raymond asks: Who will benefit from the expenditure of public funds at Invader’s Bay?

Updated August 4, 2012

Trinidad & Tobago government negotiating with businessmen for Invaders Bay Development Project

Just like in Barbados where politicians sometimes use the most elaborate schemes and deceptions to transfer public lands and other assets to the private sector without transparency or lawful process, the government of T&T is about to provide private interests with public assets at Invaders Bay. Will the public interest truly be served? And how are the people of T&T to be assured that there is nothing happening ‘on the left’ ???

Govt green light for talks on Invaders Bay

Cabinet yesterday gave approval for negotiations to begin with businessmen Derek Chin and Jerry Joseph for the Invaders Bay Development project.

Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s said that D Chin Commercial Development Ltd’s proposal to lease a portion of the State land to construct a Streets of the World entertainment and shopping complex was accepted and negotiations will commence with market determined commercial lease rates…

… read the latest at the Trinidad Express Govt green light for talks on Invaders Bay

BFP’s original story first published April 25, 2012…

Do citizens have a right to know where and how public funds are being spent?

The land at Invader’s Bay, Trinidad was reclaimed at public expense about 10 years ago. Now Afra Raymond and the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry are trying to determine who owns the lands, and under what laws the lands were created and transferred.

Simple questions, to be sure… but the answers have not been forthcoming from the Trinidad and Tobago government. Continue reading

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Filed under Consumer Issues, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

Thanks Mom! (Procter & Gamble commercial going viral)

If creating a viral video was that easy, there would be a whole lot more people and companies doing it. That said, soap maker Procter & Gamble struck gold with this one.

Come on, tell us. Did you cry too?

Thanks to an old friend

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Filed under Culture & Race Issues

Signs of recovery, but many Caribbean resorts are “not viable” – and never will be

Will Barbados National Insurance investment in the Four Seasons be lost?

“Of the 25 projects “In Construction” my projection is that only 9 will open within two years.”

… Caribbean hospitality industry expert Robert MacLellan

In his second major article for Barbados Free Press, Caribbean hospitality industry expert Robert MacLellan looks at the slate of unfinished and planned resort projects throughout the region – many of which were all too optimistically started during the 2007/2008 ‘bubble’. Here in Barbados we have our own selection of unfinished concrete bones bleaching in the sun, and there is much pressure to use public money to continue construction.

As I read Mr. MacLellan’s current article, I see that in some cases using public money might not be a wise move. In fact, it might be a predictable disaster and throwing good money after bad. I wish I had confidence that our elected and appointed public officials already know that the tourism business has forever changed and that they are making good plans to save viable resorts…

… but after reading Mr. MacLellan’s article I’m convinced that our leadership continues to fly by the seat of their pants – hoping for the best and basing their decisions on ‘feelings’ and what used to work.

This article, along with Mr. MacLellan’s previous offering Cruise ship industry a ‘Trojan horse’ to Caribbean small island economies, should be required reading at the Barbados Tourism Authority and for every Member of Parliament.

Caribbean Resort Development – Optimistic yet realistic outlook

by Robert MacLellan

This month’s Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) is promoted on the basis of predicted resort development growth across the region in 2012, but the actual situation is more complex and not as positive as first appears.

The leading travel research company in the States (STR) undertakes the great challenge of identifying and recording Caribbean hotel projects from the earliest development stages through to completion – the “pipeline”- a very difficult task, given the number of islands and jurisdictions in the region. However, with 80% of my work across the Caribbean over the last 15 years being development oriented, I felt qualified to further evaluate that pipeline. My research suggests that only 19 of the 69 projects, listed in the pipeline report, are likely to open within the next two years.

I believe that the 15 projects listed as “Abandoned” and “Deferred” are unlikely to be resurrected at all – at least, as previously envisaged. Within a two year window, I estimate that only 1 of 6 projects listed as in “Preplanning” , 5 of 12 in “ Planning” and 4 of 11 in “Final Planning” will make significant progress towards opening. Of the 25 projects “In Construction” my projection is that only 9 will open within two years. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Offshore Investments, Tourism

Green space preservation: Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy says one thing, does the opposite

"Protected" area in red now approved for development by friends of Government, thanks to Richard Sealy and his DLP government

There is an old joke that goes like this: “How do you know if a politician is lying? Simple… watch their lips. If their lips move, they are lying!”

And so it was with Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy yesterday when he attended the opening of a small park in Hothersal Crescent.

Sealy had the nerve to say…

“It also behoves us that as we continue to grapple with the desire for increased housing, the increased pressure on our land resource to have commercial establishments, that we pause and remember that we need to have these open green spaces as well.

“This is very much in keeping with that overall understanding and our philosophy and it is something that we need to see replicated across Barbados,”

What deceit. What pandering lies by Richard Sealy.

The preservation of green spaces and recreational areas is so far removed from the actions and philosophy of Sealy’s DLP government that his statement becomes an absurdity. Why didn’t the regular news media come back with a few questions about the DLP’s ongoing neglect of the environment and the government’s sad record when it comes to destroying green space?

Nevermind the ‘real’ news media who sold their souls for government advertising revenues – we’ll mention a a few things here so Bajans can be reminded what an environmental disaster the DLP has been…

1/ Changing designated green space to commercial building zones

One of the first acts of the DLP upon forming a government in 2008 was to change the law to all commercial development of the designated greenspace on the Graeme Hall watershed.

That’s right folks – Richard Sealy voted to kill the National Park at Graeme Hall wetlands and to allow CLICO to build on what had been set aside for public green space!

How does that sound for a commitment to public green space?

2/ For 17 years the Barbados Government has refused to repair the sluice gate at the Graeme Hall wetlands. You see, friends of government want to develop the last remaining greenspace between the airport and the city and the best way to make that happen is to kill the last remaining mangrove swamp on the island. As a direct result of the government’s actions…

- The last mangrove forest on the island is dying, perhaps irreversibly on its way out.

- A premier tourist attraction, the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, closed with the loss of a hundred jobs.

- An international complaint was lodged against Barbados by nature sanctuary owner Peter Allard.

- International investors and philanthropists look upon Barbados with suspicion after Allard shut down his sanctuary and gave his millions elsewhere. Many observers believe that what happened to the Canadian philanthropist Peter Allard (and some other foreign investors) could happen to anyone. We’re not so sure they are wrong.

3/ Barbados doesn’t have an Environmental Protection Act.

Yup. You read that correctly folks. As the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association asked the BLP & DLP “Where is the Environmental Act you’ve both been promising for 20 years?

4/ The Barbados Government continues blocking off the coast by approving new developments. In some places we have a solid wall of condos and no coastal access for citizens. Sure there’s a footpath every 2 miles and a place to park your car three miles away. Why would those troublemaking Bajans want access to the coast anyway?

5/ Policy for an ongoing Environmental Disaster: More Cars and More Roads

Barbados has an effective public transportation policy of more cars on more roads and there’s always lots of money for new highways, but none for mass transit. That’s not environmentally sound, but it is profitable for the companies that fund the two big political parties.

We could go on and on but the above is an illustration of the disconnect between Richard Sealy’s public speeches and his government’s actual policies and results.

Here is the newspaper article that reported Richard Sealy’s lies, ah, statements. Please read it at the Barbados Advocate here,  but you know we had to print the whole article because the Advocate has a record for destroying its own archives and stories when the truth interferes with political agendas…

Green spaces must be preserved

4/22/2012

ACTING Prime Minister Richard Sealy is of the view that efforts must be made to preserve areas in Barbados that will enhance the quality of life for those who make use of their facilities. His comments came during the official opening of a recreational park in Hothersal Crescent yesterday evening. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Politics

Would the ZENN Car have worked for Barbados? We think so!

UPDATED: March 20, 2013

We were intrigued with the little ZENN electric car a year ago when we came across this video. The car is out of production because Canada and many US states won’t let light-weight minimal transportation on the roads.

ZENN isn’t dead though – it raised two million dollars for EEStor technology that is all about using a capacitor instead of a battery to power electric autos. You can read about ZENN autos and EEStor on Wikipedia and at ZENN’s website. The video if fun and worth your time…

ZENN Motor Company made about six hundred of these little electric vehicles in Quebec Canada before the production stopped in 2010. With a range of only 40 miles and a top speed that was artificially limited to 25 mph, the vehicle didn’t sell well enough to enter big time production. There were also legal issues that prevented the vehicle from being operated on highways in Canada.

Nonetheless, with a cost of only $12,000 Canadian and the ability to charge overnight from an ordinary household electrical outlet, the vehicle might have worked well in urban areas… or in Barbados. Think about how much you actually drive each day, how narrow our roads are, and that you could plug into an outlet at work or home. Zero emissions, no noise, little maintenance required and it’s not like I’m commuting 100 miles to and from downtown Manhattan every day.

Yup. The ZENN would have worked just fine for me in Barbados.

Thanks to an old friend who sent us the video and says “We could do with 10,000 of THESE coming into the Bridgetown Port right now!”

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Filed under Barbados, Energy, Environment, Technology

Racist Barbados Member of Parliament at it again

Barbados White Trash t-shirt by CafePress

Gline Clarke plays the race card as Owen Arthur and the BLP approve

Last August BLP Member of Parliament Gline Clarke let the world know that rich whites weren’t welcome in his Barbados.

Quite a stink followed with both BLP and Government spokespeople blathering that Gline didn’t really mean it like that.

Except… he did mean it exactly like that. And… he’s just doubled down on that racist card to let the world know it.

Now Mr. Clarke is complaining that WHITES!!!!  GOOD LORD!!!! THOSE DAMNED WHITES!!!! have been receiving some construction contracts from the Barbados Government.

HORRORS!!!  WHITES DOING BUSINESS WITH THE BARBADOS GOVERNMENT!!!

What’s next? Will the DLP government will be giving contracts to Indian Guyanese and Chinese Cooliemen? Disgusting!

Clarkes’ racist comments are nothing in the grand scheme of things. He builds on a proud tradition started years ago by Barbados politicians who learned that racist comments against whites, Indians and Chinese get votes. It is a sad legacy 50 years on and a sad message to the world that Bajan politicians talk this talk with no repercussions whatsoever. Worse… they truly believe it. They live in a racist world of their own construct where Bajan or not – ‘whites’ are the enemy.

Not even Rihanna telling the whole world that she was bullied in school for being ‘white’ stopped this racist nonsense. There are very few steps between Gline Clarke complaining that the government is giving construction contracts to ‘whites’ and Bajan citizens’ comments that murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld was ‘white trash‘.

It’s all the same.

You know why Gline Clarke talks of the whites? He does it to divert attention from the fact that as Minister of Public Works Clarke lived in a home built on land that was expropriated from private ownership for (ha ha!) ‘public housing’.

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Order at the CafePress! (Gline Clarke would approve!)

Well done, Mr. Clarke! Winner of the ‘Best racist idiot ambassador for Barbados’ two years in a row…

Nice going Mr. Clarke. Your racist comments really play well on the world stage as Barbados seeks international investors looking for a stable and friendly place to put their cash.

Idiot. Racist idiot.

So sorry, but we have to reprint the entire Nation article here because that paper makes a habit of changing and removing articles to suit changing political agendas. Please read the article at the Nation website at this link…

Clarke:  Black builders left out

FORMER CABINET MINISTER Gline Clarke says that black contractors are suffering in this country and the major contracts from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Government are going  to “a certain class of people”.

In a hard-hitting nomination address at St George Secondary School last night, the mber of Parliament for St George North accused the DLP of favouring white contractors. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Politics, Race

China tourism a ‘pipe dream’ for Barbados? Not according to our ambassador to China

Former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford told the DLP youth arm on the weekend that Barbados should be pursuing Chinese tourists – if for no other reason that China is the world’s second largest economy and the Chinese love to travel. Sandy says we should cull what we can from the market and nevermind that we don’t have a direct airlift. ‘Stop moaning about no direct airlift and get on with it’ is a good summary of his message.

On one hand, Sir Lloyd’s comments make sense. We must catch as catch can in this economy and we can’t afford to miss any opportunity to attract tourists with money. (As opposed to tourists without money, like many of the cruise passengers who are stretched to pay US$65 a day for their all-inclusive cruises and so they spend zero when their ship docks in Bridgetown.)

But then reality sets in just as it did when Owen Arthur and Noel Lynch announced that tourism from India was the next big thing. Ha! Remember that disaster? And then in 2011 the folks at the Barbados Tourism Authority were just as sure that Russian tourists would save the day. How did that work out?

Let’s consider what it really takes to get from Hong Kong to Barbados, shall we?

According to Expedia.com, “London, GB is the most popular connection for one stop flights between Hong Kong, HK and Barbados, BB.” The site also says that Air Canada runs the shortest flight between Hong Kong and Barbados, with one stop and that “75,477 seats are available per day to fly out of Hong Kong, HK connecting to Barbados, BB” (I would guess that number includes some flights with three stopovers in places like Newark, New Jersey – which JD Power ranked “worst airport in America” and Huffington Post called “a hellhole”.)

Hmmmm…. Nonetheless, maybe Sir Lloyd’s message has some truth in it: the seats are there and we should work at it. Now comes the “but”…

Let’s say we take Air Canada flight A16 nonstop from Hong Kong to Toronto, Canada, leaving May 8, 2012 at 3:10pm Hong Kong time, and arrive in Toronto on May 8, at 6:05pm after spending about 19 hours at Hong Kong airport and on the aircraft. The next flight to Barbados doesn’t leave until 8:40am the next morning, so we have to spend a night in Toronto and then drag ourselves – zombie like – to the morning flight to Grantley. We’ll arrive in Bim on May 9 at 2pm and then spend a couple of hours making our way through luggage and customs and getting to our hotel.

Call it 41 hours of travel door-to-door between your home in Hong Kong and the Hilton in Bridgetown.

41 hours is a long time in transit. Subtract the 41 hours to and another 41 hours return from a week (not to mention travel-zombie recovery time when you reach Barbados) and you’ll see that Chinese tourists simply can’t take a week and head to Barbados. They have to invest at least two weeks to have a reasonable holiday in Bim.

What about going through London on Virgin? Here are the numbers…

Say you left your condo in Hong Kong three hours before the flight. Leave Hong Kong on Virgin VS201 May 8, 2012 at 23:25 hours (wohloss!) and arrive in London on May 9th at 05:25 (zombie!). Then grab the 09:35 flight to Barbados (VS035) and arrive on May 9th at 13:15. Add maybe another two hours to go through customs and get to the Hilton. That’s 31 hours door to door – your Hong Kong condo to checking into the Hilton, Barbados. No sleep except on the airplane. YOU ARE A ZOMBIE.

Now take a day or more to recover.

That is the reality of Chinese tourists coming to Barbados.

Are we that special?

You have to ask yourself: is Barbados that special that Chinese tourists would spend thirty or forty hours getting here? Forget about sand, sun and ocean. Think of the destinations between Hong Kong and Barbados that have beaches, little umbrella drinks and relaxation: Australia, Fiji, Bali, Hawaii, California, Mexico, Jamaica. The flight from Hong Kong to Fiji is nine hours.

What makes Barbados so special that Chinese tourists would choose us over all those other destinations?

I can think of a number of reasons why Chinese tourists would choose an adventure to Barbados – but I’ll tell you this: If I traveled forty hours to arrive in Bim, I had better be greeted by smiling-happy-to-see-me airport and hotel staff. The sullen, pissed off Immigration officials had better not decide to call me ‘coolie man’ with a heavy Bajan dialect under their breath and the sheets on the bed had better not have cigarette burns.

Everybody thinks that Chinese tourism will save us. But when you crunch the travel time, it’s obvious that we’d better not forget those cold farmers in North Dakota come February – because they only take eight hours from snow drifts to rum on the beach.

Our assessment: Until we get hypersonic sub-orbital four hour flights from Hong Kong direct non-stop to Grantley Adams, don’t expect to see hordes of middle class Chinese invading Barbados for a week’s holiday… it’s not going to happen! Sir Sandy is all fired up about China because he is our Ambassador to that country – but I wouldn’t be getting our hopes up thinking that Chinese government interest in our support at the United Nations translates into vastly increased tourism traffic from China.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, China

New Edgewater Hotel closed: another Barbados hotel bites the dust

Edgewater’s closure by bankruptcy receivers yesterday takes Barbados up to a staggering 34 hotels lost over the last 20 years. How many thousand rooms are gone over the last decade alone?

Does anyone keep track of the numbers?

I feel like a wife whose husband constantly assures her that everything is okay – despite that she sees the evidence all around her that the mortgage payments are behind and the car is about to get repo’d by the bank…

… but the husband says “Don’t worry darling. Everything is just fine.”

Barbados is the wife. The politicians are the husband…

… and the husband is saying “Doan worry, darling. Everything is okay, fine so fine!”

Further Reading

End for Hotel

One of this island’s older hotel properties has fallen into the hands of receivers KPMG.

A team from the audit firm shut down the NewEdgewater Hotel yesterday, and with that action sent nearly 30 people on the breadline.

The Bathsheba hotel, which boasted 24 rooms and suites, and had a history dating back to the 1700s, was ordered closed just after 2 p.m. The staff members were informed of the situation and asked to leave the premises.

Read the full story at The Nation: End for Hotel

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Antigua involved in TRSi Medical Transcription lawsuit

TRSi Collaboration also failed in Barbados

“Antigua St John’s – Medical transcription graduates have said they have yet to receive accreditation, four years after the start of the lauded government programme.

The training programme was offered through the American TRS Institute. The $10,000-per-student initiative was partly developed by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, which covered 50 percent of the students’ costs via the Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA). One hundred students were enrolled.

Read more at Caribarena.com: Transcription Graduates in Limbo

We’re starting to wonder about Robert Harvey and Transcription Relief Services (TSRi). Four years ago Mr. Harvey breezed into Barbados and sold our government on a ‘joint venture’ to train Bajans for medical transcription, and to establish a business on the island.

True to Bajan politicians’ hyperbolic form*, in January 2009 Prime Minister Thompson declared that Barbados was poised to become “the medical transcription capital of the Caribbean” with projected annual gross foreign revenues of $21 million plus. It didn’t quite work out that way and in July of 2010, Robert Harvey of TRSi flew into Barbados, fired everybody and shut down the operation.

Now we see that Mr. Harvey and Antigua have a dispute going over the same programme.

Was Barbados wrong? Was Antigua wrong?

Or… did both countries learn too late that the business model put forward by Mr. Harvey just doesn’t work?

As we said in our previous article about the medical transcription business collapse, maybe we just had to try it to discover whether it was a good fit for Barbados – but we should have eased into the business and not committed so much money to an unknown venture.

That’s what happens when the politicians play with public money: there is no caution because they are not gambling with their own money. Mr. Harvey could have been selling a fraud – or he could have been selling a viable business that works in other countries but didn’t fit with island culture and demographics.

It was up to our politicians to ease into the venture – but they dived in head first and committed big public money without seeing proof that the business was possible for small island nations.

* Don’t forget that Prime Minister Owen Arthur declared that Barbados would become the ‘stem cell capital of the world’ but all we got were body parts of murdered Ukrainian babies.

Further Reading

Officials point fingers after transcription failure (Story here)

Antigua St John’s – Officials behind the medical transcription training programme have blamed each other for the initiative’s failure.

The programme was a collaboration between the TRS Institute and the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA).

TRS CEO and President Bob Harvey told Caribarena.com that the government’s breach of contract and inability to honour its financial commitment has prompted a lawsuit, and he could not discuss the matter in full.

“I am willing to speak,” he said. “I know that there has been litigation and settlement between our organisation and ABIA based on a variety of factors. … The primary issue was regarding breach of contract and non-payment by ABIA. I would prefer not to get into that, but can offer an opinion.” Continue reading

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David Rice of Barbados Tourism Authority talks about mistakes made and going the long term

The cynical me wants to shout from the rooftops that this video interview of the head of the BTA, David Rice, illustrates how many mistakes the BTA has made in the recent past.

But then I watch it and see a sincere man admitting mistakes and explaining the learning curve in new markets.

Mr. Rice goes into areas that the average Bajan doesn’t think about – for instance that air carriers demand monies and occupancy guarantees before they take on a route.

As Mr. Rice explains things, air service is the biggest challenge. We are a small market, so the air carriers demand guarantees. While I believe there is room for dramatic improvement at the BTA, Mr. Rice has given me a new perspective on the challenges that he and the BTA face.

Truth is though, I believe that our product is well past its ‘best by’ date. You know we’ve been showing 20 year old videos and photographs of certain beaches. The tourists come and say “Wuhloss! Where’s the picture perfect beach and sea? What’s with the garbage and plastic bags along the side of the road?”

You KNOW that’s what they say.

I sympathize with Mr. Rice, but I want to know: What are we doing to make our product the best it can be? As far as the Barbados Tourism Authority goes, it is all about show, not go. The BTA doesn’t concern itself with product quality: only with the best presentation of our Barbados brand.

It’s time to change our focus to quality. That is the long-term view – anything else is fooling ourselves.

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Canadian tax decision should spur Barbados to ease up residency procedures

Garron Barbados Trust case has frightening implications for Bajan offshore industry

by One Who Knows

An April 12, 2012 decision by Canada’s Supreme Court is putting the pressure on Barbados. The decision changes everything for Canadian trusts residing in Barbados. Many Canadian-controlled trusts will now be taxable in Canada at Canadian rates… and if that is the case then what is the use of having the trusts in Barbados or having the annual meeting on the beach at the Bridgetown Hilton?

Barbados and other Caribbean offshore banking centres rely heavily upon favourable tax laws from Canada, Britain and the USA. As our Prime Minister is so fond of saying: Barbados is not a tax ‘haven’, we are a legitimate financial and corporate centre. There’s a difference you know – but it is a difference that the Canadian government is increasingly unsympathetic to.

The Canadian government is aggressively pursuing a policy of hunting down potential tax revenues that have been ‘missing’ offshore and Barbados is squarely in the tax-haven gunsights.

It’s all about residency… so is Barbados willing to expedite residency for worthy offshore investors?

Whether true or not, Barbados has a reputation for being a difficult country to deal with in terms of immigration, residency and citizenship. Now that Canada has set new rules that threaten the health of our offshore financial and corporate industry, can Barbados adapt quickly enough to keep the trust clients who will soon be moving out?

Offshore trusts can still fall within Canada’s tax net

On April 12, a new landmark was established in the world of tax. It’ll provide guidance to taxpayers for years to come. I’m talking about a Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in a case known in tax circles as the Garron case.

One of the most fundamental questions that every government must ask is this: Who should be liable to pay tax? Most governments have adopted the same answer to the question: If you reside in a country, you should pay tax there. (The U.S. is a rare exception where individuals are taxed if they are citizens, regardless of where they live. Oh, and the U.S. also taxes those who reside there.)

The common principle is that a person who derives economic and social benefit from living in a place should owe an economic allegiance to that place. And so, Canada – like most countries – taxes based on residency.

The problem? Determining whether you’re resident in Canada for tax purposes can be tough because it’s generally a question of fact and subject to the interpretation of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or the courts (with some rare exceptions where certain people are deemed to be resident here).

The case

Determining residency is even tougher when we’re talking about an entity that isn’t a person with a family and a home to live in. What if you’re a corporation? Or a trust? The Garron case, formally referred to as Fundy Settlement v. Canada, 2012 SCC 14, is the story of two family trusts that purported to be resident in Barbados, not Canada, and therefore claimed to escape the Canadian tax net.

The trustee of the trusts is St. Michael Trust Corp., resident in Barbados. The beneficiaries of the trusts are residents of Canada. The trusts sold shares in two Ontario corporations and realized substantial capital gains in the process. The purchaser was required to withhold and remit taxes to the Canadian government on account of these capital gains – to the tune of $152-million. Continue reading

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