Monthly Archives: June 2012

Loveridge: One politician’s verbal diarrhea about the Barbados tourism industry

Let’s play… Name that politician!

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Debate, whether it takes place in the Upper House, Elected Chamber or through the various forms of media, demonstrates the presence of a healthy democracy, but unless its informed, does it really have any meaningful relevance?

Sometimes you have to stop and think exactly why certain people utter particular things and the timing of those comments. Ultimately they either believe what they saying is credible and truthful or have become a victim of a sudden and virulent attack of verbal diarrhea. Perhaps what is also so surprising, is why at this time, with a general election constitutionally due in less than a year, would a person voice such controversial words?

Does he feel that his party has no realistic possibility of being re-elected, so it doesn’t really matter if you alienate those generating your single largest contributing sector of foreign exchange? Even from someone who has a long track record of expressing often outrageous  and incredulous statements, frequently from a place of rare privilege, this particular verbatim quote must take the biscuit.

The claim was that ‘the private (tourism) sector was 98 per cent profit and 2 per cent social obligation’.

If it wasn’t so grossly insulting and inaccurate, perhaps many of us could excuse it as another puff of political hot air, but the phrase is so critical to the lack of understanding of this industry, it is frightening.

Whatever your partisan leanings, I sincerely believe the private sector has done an extraordinary job of trying to support Government in their attempt to protect employment and these ill-advised words simply slap those in the face that have defied almost insurmountable odds to stay in business. This despite the current administration’s policy of imposing unbudgeted increases in taxation, that without doubt have contributed substantially to the erosion of any possible profits.

Perhaps a wise undertaking might have been, before giving the impression that he actually knew something about the subject discussed, would be to check, which if any, of our remaining hotels had declared any corporation tax liability. At least this might have indicated a realist level of profitability.

Or did this person not hear the remarks made by the President of the Barbados Bankers Association a few weeks ago, where he stated that a staggering 43 per cent of all non performing loans were tourism related.

Sadly, this is another classic example of the increasing use of square pegs in round holes, and will do nothing to endear the thousands of Barbadians dependent on tourism to feed their families, and who may be less forgiving at the ballot box.

Not everyone of course can be an ‘expert’, but if you are clearly deficient on the subject in question, at least do your homework before engaging the mouth into gear. This is not the time for bluster and bravado, but surely to galvanise all the very best players, who can make a positive difference.

We all welcome constructive criticism, but let is be based on fact rather than conjecture.

Then finally, ask yourself a simple question, if owning and operating hotels was all about ‘98 per cent profit’, then why would over 30 of them have closed during the last 16 years?

Editor’s note: This article was printed as received from Mr. Loveridge with the exception of the title and subtitle that were added by Barbados Free Press. BFP also changed some of the paragraph breaks, punctuation and spelling.

And yes, it was Senator Jepter Ince who just can’t seem to get it through his thick head that being elected doesn’t mean you can spout off on anything without doing your homework – and not look like a fool.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business

Prime Minister Stuart and the FBI report: When idiocy meets the politics of corruption

“Campaign Donation” deposited into Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s personal bank account. DLP & BLP politicians engage in corruption  without fear that the next government will investigate and lay charges.

The DLP doesn’t want to see the FBI report any more than the BLP does

Nobody wants to break the DLP – BLP agreement that no corruption charges will be laid

Ten years ago, then Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur publicly acknowledged that the US FBI had delivered to him a report on the corrupt activities of Barbados ‘public officials’ – whatever was meant by the term ‘public officials’ at the time. Were the ‘public officials’ elected? Appointed? Both? Bajans never knew because the moment the news of the report appeared, that was the end of the story as is usual ’bout hey…

Until the other night in Parliament when Owen Arthur and our accidental Prime Minister had it out in a child-like ‘Did so!’ – ‘Did not!’ exchange.

Said PM Stuart about the FBI report…

“One of the first things that my predecessor in office [late Prime Minister David Thompson] enquired about in my presence at Government Headquarters on the Friday after the general election, was that FBI report.

“It could not be found anywhere, although that honourable Member [Arthur) had said that it was received, and he was aware it was on his desk.”

…Prime Minister Freundel Stuart talks about David Thompson trying to find the FBI corruption report.

Big news for the DLP and the Prime Minister: The FBI has a copy of their own report! (Gasp!)

Here we are heading for five years of DLP government and only now our PM (and former Attorney General) raises the issue of the ‘missing’ FBI corruption report? When the report couldn’t be found back in 2008, did PM Thompson or his Attorney General Stuart ask the FBI for another copy? Nope, they didn’t.

I guarantee that if the FBI delivered a report to the Government of Barbados, that agency would have a copy of it filed away. There is NO WAY that the FBI would deliver a report to a foreign government and not keep an exact copy of what was delivered. The current little stage play in Parliament is nothing more than politics at its worst.

If the DLP government really wanted a copy of the FBI report, they could have arranged to have it… but they didn’t really want it.

The DLP deceived Bajans about Integrity Legislation, FOI, conflict of interest rules…

The DLP was elected largely because of the public disgust with the open corruption of the Arthur/Mottley government and the DLP’s promise to implement Integrity Legislation and Freedom of Information as a priority in their first 100 days in office. The DLP also promised to put conflict of interest rules and a Ministerial Code in place “immediately” on the first day in office.

The integrity and corruption issue was what pushed the DLP over the top to victory in the January 2008 election – that much was stated clearly at the time in both the Bajan and UK news media.

But almost five years later the DLP government hasn’t laid a single corruption charge against anyone – although the government has had ample time and opportunity. The promised Integrity and Freedom of Information legislation will never become law prior to the next election. It will die with this last session of Parliament. The conflict of interest rules and Ministerial Code were never declared.

You see folks, the DLP and the BLP have had this agreement for 20 years and more: lots of shouting and talk and accusations, but no real action, no charges against each other. Neither party wants to start what would be a destructive war that might consume all, and therefore neither party will ever lay corruption charges against other politicians.

It just wouldn’t be wise for either party to start that kind of a fight.

And the public interest be damned to hell… the politicians don’t want to stop their ability to make something on the side.

Further Reading

Readers are encouraged to visit The Nation to read the below article online, but we have to reprint it here in its entirety as The Nation sometimes removes news stories for political reasons…

Bring it!

TEN YEARS AFTER controversy first arose over an alleged FBI probe of Barbados public officials, the issue was resurrected late last night in the House of Assembly. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Owen Arthur, Mia Mottley responsible for the Al Barrack mega-mess

UPDATED: November 18, 2012

More lies from PM Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart yesterday told The Nation that contractor Al Barrack will get the $77 million owed to him by the Government of Barbados. This, of course, is a lie. The DLP government has been at the helm since January 2008 and have not started to pay Barrack. The BLP now awaiting to form the next government will not pay him either.

Al Barrack is screwed. He’s one man who had a large contract with the Government of Barbados. The courts have said that Barrack must be paid, but the government does what it wants and does not obey the courts. Always been that way, ’nuff said.

The Government, whether DLP or BLP, is waiting for Al Barrack to die.

That is the way that things work ’bout hey with big court cases involving small people. It worked that way with Violet Beckles and it will work that way with Al Barrack. The Barbados Mafia is waiting for him to die.

Story as originally published June 28, 2012…

submitted by Real and Reality blog

The Al Barrack monster mess we know originated during the days of  Owen Arthur. Like it or not Bajans, the BLP government under leadership of Owen Arthur and Mia Mottley awarded Al Barrack Construction Company a thirty-six million dollor contract WITHOUT TENDER. The court in 2006 ruled in favor of Barrack for 34.4 million. Barrack in 2008 received 2.5 million from the David Thompson administration but nothing from Arthur.

He, Arthur, instead of surrendering payment of some kind to Al Barrack, invested 2.4 million dollars into a Nigerian Water Heater project.  No water heaters were produced and the 2.4 million was lost and or unaccounted for.

That was some magic trick: “now you see 2.4 million, now you don’t” 2.4 million. The $75,000 ‘campaign donation’ cheque perhaps was one of Arthur’s magician tricks. Something went wrong. The cheque didn’t disappear. It was discovered walking into Owen’s personal bank account. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Politics

Intra-Caribbean flights taxed to death. Here’s a current LIAT itinerary…

Subject: Travel Itinerary

Dear Customer,

Thank you for booking with LIAT The Caribbean Airline…”

“Thank you for booking with LIAT…”

Like we had much choice between BGI and Grenada? LOL! US$240 to fly to Grenada and return is one thing… US$412.48 is another. Intra-Caribbean tourism cannot happen at prices like these.

The sad truth…

LIAT (1974) LTD
P.O. Box 819, St. John’s/Antigua


Confirmation Number:  (XXXXXXXX)      Agent Number: XXXXXXX
Booking Date: XXJun12    Booked By: XXXXXXX


Date                  Flt     Depart                              Arrive      Stops
———–          —–   ————————-   ———    —————- —–
Thu XXJul12  771     BGI – BARBADOS,        8:10am     GND – GRENADA, G  9:05AM
Sun XXJul12  726     GND – GRENADA, G    3:10pm     BGI – BARBADOS,     4:05PM

Fare and Charges Detail:   Total For 01 guest(s)         Fare: US240.00
Insurance: US9.66
Sales Tax:  US42.00
Passenger Facility Charge: US31.20
Airport Development Tax: US16.00
Airport Authority Taxes: US8.90
Airport Passenger Taxes: US29.72
Fuel Surcharge: US35.00
Total: US$412.48

Payment(s): Visa: US$412.48—-
Balance Due:         US$0.00

Thanks to an avid BFP contributor!


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Canadian store collapse brings memories of Barbados cave-in disaster

Where are the men?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

As a Bajan living in Canada I thought you would be interested in the following article from the Toronto Sun newspaper because it made me think about what happened in Bim at the Arch Cot collapse when the police, fire and military dithered for a whole day before venturing into the wreckage. Then they chopped down the apartment wreckage into the hole, without regards to anyone who still might have been alive.

This Toronto Sun article by Joe Warmington points out that people live for over a week in collapsed buildings. That didn’t matter in Barbados and it didn’t matter in Elliot Lake Canada where government prevented rescue teams from entering the building, saying it was “too dangerous”.

Where are the men? Where are those who devote their lives to rescuing others in these kinds of disasters? When the crunch time comes they always seem to fail us.

They always talk about “lessons learned” but never seem to apply those lessons on the next time. The lesson for each of us is that you cannot rely upon the government. You must be prepared to save yourself.

The death certificate for Donavere Codrington says he died two days after the collapse and that fact got short shift at the inquest.

The Sun article says that Elliot Lake will not forget. That’s a lie: yes, it will. Barbados did, Canada will too. Barbados forgot and nobody was held accountable for building on a known cave.

Justice Mottley and daughter Mia Mottley

Nobody was held responsible for removing the prohibition against building on the land. Mia Mottley and her family were involved. They owned the land at one time. Nothing more need be said.

sign me “Never Forget”

Further Reading

Please read the following article at the Toronto Sun: Warmington: Elliot Lake will not forget

Warmington: Elliot Lake will not forget

“It’s just not safe.” — HUSAR leader Bill Neadles.

Was Juno beach safe?

How about Vimy Ridge or Helmand Province?

When would such an emergency rescue mission, which would require bringing in the Heavy Urban Search And Rescue Team (HUSAR), ever have safe conditions?

Only in nanny-state Ontario could somebody decide the working conditions for rescue workers in a catastrophe were not safe enough to do what they are trained, and paid, to do. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Canada, Disaster

Meat glue: Is your beef roast held together with pork blood enzymes?

Call upon Barbados Ministry of Health to ban meat glue use

Have you heard about meat glue? I hadn’t until an old friend sent Barbados Free Press the above YouTube video. It is a common practice where scraps of meat are glued together so they mimic prime cuts, and it’s not confined to beef: pork, chicken and lamb are also subject to this trickery.

According to the video report, the enzymes used to perform this are dangerous and the meat ‘cuts’ created by this process can have over a hundred times the bacteria content of ‘real’ meat cuts. That’s important if that nice looking steak you ordered ‘rare’ is actually formed with multiple scraps of meat.

This white powder sold by the kilo, is the meat industry’s dirty little secret, secret because it is hazardous to your health! Meat glue makes pieces of beef, lamb, chicken or fish that would normally be thrown out stick together so closely that it looks like a solid piece of meat. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Health

Turks & Caicos Islands actively seeking criminals to be police officers

Have a criminal record? Want a career as a police officer? Head for the Turks & Caicos Islands!

The Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police is actively seeking criminals to become police officers, this according to our friends over at TCeyeNow blog. We checked with the TCI police website and sure enough, yup… the police force is looking for criminals to become police officers.

“Previous criminal convictions, which must be disclosed, will not necessarily prevent appointment (as a police officer).”

… from the recruiting section of the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police

Will wonders never cease? Are things that tough in the recruitment department?

“Any reasonable person would think that the Commissioner of police and his Deputy would be working overtime to restructure the police force, change the recruiting policy and root out the criminal elements in the police force.

Instead the Police force is appealing for more criminals to join the police force.”

from the TCeyeNow article TCI Police Force actively seeking criminals to join the force

And in Barbados…

As a followup in a telephone call to the Royal Barbados Police Force, a recruitment officer told Barbados Free Press that it would be ‘unlikely’ that the organisation would hire anyone with a criminal record to be a police constable but that we were welcome to submit an application. That sounds okay until you stop to consider that there is no blanket prohibition against hiring persons with criminal records.

Standards: If society doesn’t maintain them it all goes to hell.


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

Loveridge: Our tourism workers must deliver world-class service standards

“I have questioned many times in the past, that it is totally unreasonable to expect our tourism workers to deliver a level of service that they have never been exposed to.”

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

I have just returned from spending ten days in the United States, eight of which were spent in the state of New Hampshire at a two property resort hotel in the White Mountains.

The standard of accommodation was very high. What stood out was the number of nationalities involved in service delivery. In fact management and staff were from thirteen different countries excluding the host. Fourteen of those employees came from the state of Moldova, and I would not blame you for a second if you are scratching your head and thinking ‘where on earth is that?’

Before you leap to GOOGLE, Moldova is a small land-locked state in Eastern Europe, formerly part of and now bordering Romania with the Ukraine. For part of its history, it was a Soviet satellite. Shortly it will be celebrating two decades of independence. Nearly a quarter of their entire population (4.5 million) earn a living abroad and one third of the country’s GDP consists of remittances.

Moldova is often described as the poorest country in Europe, but offers tremendous tourism potential in years to come, with over 140 cultural heritage sites, outstanding natural attractions, an important health and beauty niche, together with a thriving wine industry, which ranks it as the twenty-second largest producer in the world.

And this is why it is so critical that emerging nation’s have inspired and visionary leaders that fully comprehend the realities of modern day tourism: leaders who speedily draft and implement a medium to long term Master Plans that all the players can follow and use as a benchmark for achieving excellence.

Long before substantive overseas investors or locals build world-class hotels, the Government of Moldova is ensuring that the workforce receives all the necessary training to ensure their nationals meet the service standards expected in a global marketplace. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Here’s just what you need on a Monday morning: Matt!

Watch this video and you might believe there is hope for the world after all

Matt is a self-described 35 year old ‘micro-famous deadbeat’. He’s the dancing guy from “Where the hell is Matt?” website who got paid to take his girlfriend around the world doing Stride chewing gum commercials. At one point he was a flat-broke guy hanging around Hanoi, Vietnam when he had a friend make a video of him dancing with some kids on the street. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Half way through Matt’s new 2012 video, Shona, the boys and I were laughing and tearing up at the same time. The kids were dancing. Shona was dancing. I was dancing.

Then I started thinking what a great idea this would be for a Barbados Tourism Authority commercial: spend a month going around the island getting people to dance – taxi drivers, fisherfolk, chefs, hotel staff, children, shop clerks, police – everybod all around the island. Then take the best and make it into a Barbados TV commercial with the same feeling as Matt’s videos. Better yet: get Matt to Barbados and have him make the commercial for the BTA. Done well, that could be a great commercial.

Shona, the boys and I would dance for Matt and the BTA… how about you?


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Spark of the Day!

Police, court, DPP abuse of witnesses and victims – one man’s horrific experience

“We have, so far, over a period of four and a half years, attended the Magistrates Court for the preliminary trial a total of 21 times. It is impossible to offer a guess as to when this case will exit the Magistrates Court to the High Court, and how many more years it will spend there.”

by Trevor Kent

Kent Construction Ltd.

Charles Leacock, Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions

In The Nation on Friday May 25 was an article DPP: Stop hiding white collar crime, in which Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock, reportedly lamented the low level of reporting by business of what is known as “white collar crime”. His take on this situation was that businesses, especially, it seems, commercial banks, have been afraid of bad publicity and thus prefer to cover up malfeasance within their operations. He urges that this practice must stop, saying, as reported in the newspaper, that “the low level of prosecutions and investigations [is] symptomatic of the fact that there is also a low level of reporting”.

I have to admit to being surprised by these reported comments, based on my Company’s experiences with reporting substantial white collar thefts by on of our employees, carried out systematically over almost seven years. After assisting with a very long, drawn out Police Fraud Squad investigation, we were informed by letter that the DPP had directed that only a fraction of the thefts for which we provide hard evidence should  be investigated, to save police time. How does that square with the stated fact of “a low level of investigations”?

Then, we have, so far, over a period of four and a half years, attended the Magistrates Court for the preliminary trial a total of 21 times. It is impossible to offer a guess as to when this case will exit the Magistrates Court to the High Court, and how many more years it will spend there.

I would thus submit that the reason companies elect not to report similar crimes is that they do not with to face the frustration of dealing with the slow Police investigation requiring numerous hand-written statements etc. followed by hundreds of hours of wasted employee time, sitting at a Magistrate’s court that often starts up to one and a half hours late, and then accomplishes very little before adjourning for the day.

The whole process then has to be repeated at the High Court, in front of Judge and Jury.

By the time a matter has gone through the Magistrates Court, and the High Court, many years will have elapsed, witnesses may have retired or died, and companies have lost many thousands of dollars in employee time, in addition to the original loss. Even if the accused is convicted, sentences are often little more than a slap on the wrist, as pleas of “first time offender” (although there may be numerous episodes relating to the same trial) are accepted by the courts. Companies thus decide, as in one case I am aware of where the owners simply sold the company and relocated overseas, to swallow the loss, leaving the perpetrator to continue stealing at another company, as often happens.

The legal trial system in Barbados is seriously time-flawed, if not broken, and in fact some of the laws are flawed also. In our case, the bank, after cashing over 300 “third-party” company cheques during the stated period, without once questioning the legitimacy of these transactions, either with the presenter or with the Company itself, was able to hide behind the Banking Act that apparently does not require ID and authorization from the payee to whom the cheque was signed in good faith by a Company director. Amazing really, when one considers that the local Post Office requires such confirmation before delivering mail to a person claiming to represent someone else. The bank has refused to engage with us at any level (despite firm written promises at the highest level) and our expert legal advice is that, whilst we are not without precedent in seeking redress through the courts, the process could well take six or seven years, and even longer on appeal… not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Police

Our disappearing agricultural lands – Public meeting Sunday

“We have 166sq miles to make this country home, to feed ourselves, to dispose of our waste, to provide jobs, to welcome the 1.1 million visitors per year, to make a sustainable use of the resources we are blessed with and to enhance our general well being. Land use policies must be fervently considered to ensure a sustainable future for all those living now, and those to come, if Barbados is to continue to prosper in a holistic manner. What we do to our lands, we do to ourselves.”

by the Future Centre Trust – courtesy of Kammie Holder

All are welcome to the public meeting to be held on recently transferred agricultural land in Lower Greys Tenantry, St George at 4pm on Sunday June 24.

Agriculture has come under the spotlight in recent weeks with the Minister of Agriculture himself standing up for his portfolio threatening resignation if Agriculture was not taken more seriously. With a greater dependence on internationally sourced food supplies, the country is putting itself at threat. “Pricing, supply, freshness of supply and access are all outside our control when imported food is on the shopping list!” says Nicole Garofano, Administrative Director of the Future Centre Trust. “Like a dependence on imported oil for the supply of the country’s electricity, dependence on external food crops simply because we are not recognising the value of our lands and improving those lands to feed ourselves, is detrimental to development in the long term,” she added.

During World War II, the late Sir John Saint spearheaded a national initiative which ensured that the agricultural lands of the time were able to supply food to the population. The region’s supplies were under threat with U boat activity across the Atlantic. Sir John recognised the threat and implemented this national initiative which enabled the people of Barbados to sustain themselves during that time. A brave move for the time, but it worked. Can Barbados learn from such innovative plans of old and work towards attaining some measure of food sustainability again? Continue reading


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Environment

Do Freemasons worship Satan as the “Great Architect of the Universe”? Tony Jordan says so and many Barbadians agree

Freemason symbolism in Rihanna’s music and videos?

Most of the Freemasons I’ve met let folks know that they consider Masonry as something less than a religion, but more than an ordinary community group like Rotary or Lions. They certainly wouldn’t see anything sinister in being a Mason or they wouldn’t be part of The Craft. But are these ordinary folks being duped? Are they being tricked into worshiping ‘The Old One’ as Auntie Moses would say. (Auntie warns everyone not to say ‘the name’. Say anything else but don’t call ‘the name’. Well, that’s Auntie for you.)

Last Wednesday and Thursday nights, over seven hundred Bajans gathered at the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre to pray and listen to a series of talks called Secrets of Freemasonry – opened by Tony Jordan, a well-known anti-Freemasonry crusader.

A few years ago our old friends at Keltruth Blog ran an extensive series of critical articles looking at Freemasonry in Barbados, its origins, practices and Masonry’s influence in the Royal Barbados Police Force. I was surprised by some of what I read and came to the opinion that the Masons are a multi-layered hierarchy akin to a gentleman’s club at the entry levels, but with some strange and hidden goings on at the higher levels, and a history of leadership and influence in governments around the world. I once saw a piece on Masonic symbols and symbolism evident in the design and construction of Washington, DC and it really impressed me. I can’t remember if that particular article was at Keltruth blog, but I’m sure someone will find it and post it as a comment on this article.

Ian Bourne at The Bajan Reporter also reported on the supposed connections between Rihanna and Freemasonry, and the Masonic symbolism in her music and videos. (I can’t find the link but if Ian or someone wants to post it I’ll update this article.)

What do you think folks… Bajan Freemasons: dupes? Satan worshipers? misunderstood? Better than seven hundred people at the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre think they know the answer…

‘Jordan also explained that most members in Barbados only rose to the position of master and were therefore unaware of the satanic elements of masonic lodges, whose stated tenets were brotherly love, relief and truth.

Only those in the higher echelons of the lodges, from the 31st to 33rd degree, were aware that satanic worship was at the core of their rituals and that Lucifer was worshipped as the Great Architect of the Universe, he added. “They [masonic lodges] serve the same master: the Father of All Lights, Satan . . . . The rites seek to parallel much of what is in the Bible,” he told enthralled listeners.

Read the full story at Freemasonry renounced by hundreds of Barbadians


Filed under Barbados, Religion

When banks charge morgage interest rates like credit cards… it’s called USURY

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

A couple of days ago we approached our bank about rates for a commercial mortgage and were quoted rates of between 11.5 and 14.5 per cent interest.

Yet only recently I saw an article where the banks were attempting to pressure the Central Bank to lower the interest rate paid to depositors from the current minimum of 2.5 per cent.

How can we in the private sector and Government, at least giving lip service to encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurship, tolerate ludicrous spreads like this of 9 to 12 per cent?

We are already forced to accept a level of poor service that would simply not be put up with in the countries where many of these banks have their origins: Unanswered voicemail messages and because its almost impossible to speak to a human being, lengthy and time wasting queues. There are endless delays in trying to procure critical documentation. Managers feel they have no obligation to respond to the written requests of their customers.

Small wonder that the President of The Bankers Association stated that 43 per cent of the non-performing loans were in the tourism sector. How on earth with all the other escalating costs can any small business service an interest rate of 14.5 per cent, let alone repay the capital.

This is an area that Government must intervene.


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

DLP letter-writers kick into high gear over Freundel Stuart’s BHTA debacle

DLP rag Barbados Advocate compares PM Stuart with Moses

Blah, blah, blah… “Prime Minister Freundel Stuart a great leader” blah, blah, blah…

For a good laugh, you really must read Algernon Atherley’s latest at the Barbados Advocate: Prime Minister Freundel Stuart a great leader


Filed under Barbados, Politics

Killing the Caribbean tourism ‘Golden Goose’ – Governments taxing hotels and tourists to death

In his third major article for Barbados Free Press, Caribbean hospitality industry expert Robert MacLellan examines how some Caribbean governments are reacting to the economic crisis by increasing taxes on the barely-hanging-on hotel sector.

The bleached concrete skeletons of dead and stillborn hotels litter Caribbean coastlines like fish bones at Oistins. How much more carnage will it take for the Barbados Government to realise that the very foundation of our economy is being undermined by the government’s own taxation policies?

Destroying Caribbean hotels through taxation

by Robert MacLellan

Each of the Caribbean hotel investment conferences held in April and May this year included sessions to encourage closer cooperation between the public and private sector but, immediately prior to the Caribbean Tourism Summit in mid June, the governments of Jamaica and of Antigua & Barbuda announced significant new airport arrival taxes, with a new hotel occupancy tax also added in Jamaica. The Caribbean hotel industry’s greatest fear now is that other governments will follow.

These extra charges target the region’s highest spending visitors – the stay-over guests. While everyone understands the difficulties which island governments currently face in trying to balance their own budgets in times of world economic uncertainty and with increasing youthful populations, it is a fact that much of the region’s hotel industry is in deep financial crisis and has been for some considerable time. The region’s largest employer and biggest direct and indirect tax payer cannot be “the cow you take to market and milk it twice”.

Today, most lower and middle market Caribbean hotels, which have significant bank loans, are in default to some degree or other.

Energy and water costs on many islands are as high as US$40 per day per occupied room – with little actual utility cost differential per day per room between budget hotels charging US$80 a night and luxury resorts charging US$800 a night. Reservation systems, like Expedia, and tour operators continue to negotiate aggressively low hotel room rates, such that Smith Travel Research projects that average room rates in the Caribbean will not recover back to 2007 dollar levels until 2014. My own research suggests that lower end hotels will not even achieve that level of rate recovery. More tour operators are pressuring hotels for all inclusive rates, where meals become part of the tour operator’s “commissionable” package, but Caribbean hotel restaurants are already incurring operating losses in the face of escalating world food prices. Inevitably, hotel refurbishment and marketing budgets continue to be cut. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Adrian Loveridge: Barbados gets another chance with Texas… but only if we work at it

Good news, bad news and a potential opportunity for the BTA to redeem itself

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

First let me sincerely congratulate those Barbadian accommodation providers that have received the prestigious TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2012.

These are not nebulous or arbitrary awards arrived at by a chosen few, but strictly based on the opinions of actual guests that stay and comment on their lodging experience in the named properties.

TripAdvisor state that usually only about 10 per cent of all listed hotels qualify and those inevitably offer exceptional customer experience.

Criteria also includes the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months, and limited to those who achieve an overall rating of 4 to 5, out of a possible maximum five, are eligible.

With over 50 million unique visitors to the world’s largest travel website each month, it’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Especially for those smaller properties with limited marketing dollars, enabling them to reach out and penetrate a global arena that ordinarily perhaps they could not even dream about.

But it goes way beyond that.

It rewards outstanding service, fosters repeat clientele and generally encourages direct booking at published rack rates. This is where ‘we’ as a destination can distinguish ourselves and punch above our weight in promotional terms.

For sure, as one industry veteran so ably commented recently, we cannot compete at the bottom on the barrel.

Over the next few weeks many national promotional agencies and individual lodging establishments will use their achievement of being awarded this accolade to garner massive media coverage, at no cost whatsoever. And for many travellers contemplating visiting somewhere for the very first time, it will become a vital reference point to aid final hotel choice.

It may be up to two years away, but another tremendous airlift opportunity for Barbados is on the horizon. Houston’s City Council has just overwhelming approved a project where the United States largest domestic and world’s biggest discount carrier, SouthWest will invest US$100 million into expanding the city’s William Hobby Airport. When completed, it would add a 25 flight per day overseas capacity through five new gates and a customs facility.

SouthWest will then principally use this hub to open new routes to the Caribbean, Mexico, South and Central America. Currently some of these services are operated by AirTran, which the airline acquired last year.

The strengths of SouthWest are the potential of the enormous volume of domestic passengers amounting to  25 per cent of the entire US market. 3,300 flights a day serving 97 cities in 42 states, who could connect through Houston, plus a successful history in pioneering low cost flights.

Even if you ignore, for a moment, the connecting possibilities, then the 10 county Houston metropolitan area has a population alone of over 6 million.

Flying distance Houston to Barbados is 2,557 miles or just over five hours.

Many of us have been disappointed that the American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth service has not performed better and I really think we have to question the reasons why. But with SouthWest, we have two years in which to negotiate, plan and promote the route.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Prime Minister Stuart ignores request for BHTA tourism meeting for four months!

“Stuart just doesn’t get it.”

Four months for the PM to respond to a simple request

submitted by iTourist

What the hell? It’s only that way back in March the business people driving THE major section of our economy asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to discuss the obvious distress being experienced by the tourism industry. Stuart has ignored the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association’s request for months and only now says he’ll meet – but no date has been set. July will be four months since the BHTA’s request.

The Nation News presents the announcement of the unscheduled future meeting as if it is some great triumph to be celebrated. It is, in fact, a tragedy that we are saddled with a do-nothing Prime Minister who insulted and ignored an entire business community that is foundational to our economy. It seems that each day another news story proves that Stuart can’t decide whether to tie his shoes or brush his teeth first. What are this man’s priorities?

“Let’s not be hasty here. Maybe the PM should keep the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association waiting a whole year for a meeting. That will show them!”

Yes, it sure will show the members of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association that our accidental Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the DLP government are totally disconnected from reality.

If I could make this article any more contemptuous of the PM’s arrogance, ignorance and disconnect, I would. Stuart just doesn’t get it.

Further Reading

Folks: Please go to The Nation to read this article, but we have to print it here because that paper has a history of removing or changing news stories to suit changing political agendas…

Meeting On

THE DATE AND TIME are still to be fixed. But Colin Jordan as well as other past and present executives of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) who have been anxious to meet with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart are about to get their wish. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Ecuador, Politics

DISASTER! American Airlines Dallas to Barbados flights end August 19, 2012

American Airlines’ last remaining direct flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Bridgetown is toast as of August 19, 2012.

Barbados Tourism Authority has yet to notify tourism industry partners

The Barbados Tourism Authority has again failed to notify tourism industry partners that another major airline cancelled a route to Barbados. Maybe the BTA is ashamed – and so they should be.

The Dallas-Barbados flight was announced with great fanfare in December 2010. The YouTube video above shows the inaugural flight. There was such hope. In BFP’s article at the time Tourism Matters – Non-stop Dallas to Barbados, Adrian Loveridge excitedly said…

“The new non-stop direct service from Dallas to Barbados, slated to start on the 16th December this year offers tremendous growth potential for our tourism industry. Not only will it tempt the estimated 6.5 million people that live in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, the fourth largest metropolitan population in the United States, but it offers some incredible connecting city opportunities.”

So much for that.  The initial excitement soon ebbed and collapsed entirely when the flight schedule imploded in April 2012. (See  BFP’s Dallas – Barbados dream collapses)

There is no valid excuse for this failure: Dallas-Fort Worth is 8th busiest airport in the world only 4 hours by jet from Grantley Adams and we can’t fill one airplane a week. Give me a break! Somebody should be fired… probably many people.

Sadly, it appears that our Barbados Tourism Authority proved themselves totally incapable of maintaining one tiny Boeing 737 a week to Bim from the EIGHTH BUSIEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD located only four hours away!

Shouldn’t Bajans expect some positive results for our $100 million dollars a year expenditure by The Barbados Tourism Authority?


Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism