Monthly Archives: July 2012

When the rich start complaining about Barbados prices, environment and urban sprawl then we’ll start to worry… What? Oh oh!

Jet setter Lady Carol Parsons talking about moving someplace else because Bim isn’t what it used to be

We felt sick to our guts yesterday reading Rubia Tinctorum’s piece Barbados: Don’t bother, frankly because for the last seven years we’ve been pounding out the same message here at Barbados Free Press – but obviously to no avail.

We and others warned of willy-nilly development and the rush to block the sea views. We talked about crime being a huge threat to tourism: the engine that drives our entire economy. We warned that our politicians were greedy and setting wrong priorities; holding massive celebratory events like Cricket World Cup while ignoring infrastructure, health care and the environment. We said that our police force budget should be doubled to retain and attract quality personnel and that the police are the guardians of our economy: if crime wins, the tourists leave.

We said all that and much more as so many Bajans have.

When our politicians borrowed millions and millions for ‘studies’ and ‘initiatives’ we asked to see evidence of where the money went. We demanded Freedom of Information laws, to no avail. We demanded Integrity Legislation and received nothing but put-offs and promises while the fat politician piggies kept their noses in the trough. DLP, BLP: all the same.

The politicians borrowed $100 million for a sewerage project and never built it. They received $40 million in EU money for studies of our sugar industry. Well? Where is the benefit? $20 million here for an environmental study, $2 million there for a ‘partnership’ in a failed venture in Nigeria. (Please! What did Prime Minister Owen Arthur expect would happen in Nigeria? What a joke!) Cost overruns of fifty and a hundred percent on every other government project and everyone acts like this is normal. Our Prime Minister personally gives away US$150,000 to a cricket charity and everybody acts like this is normal and Owen’s a great guy for doing that.

“No one asks how much money a man has to have to give away US$150,000 cash or how a public servant can acquire such wealth.”

Green space, nature, the good island life in short supply

The BLP and DLP politicians promised National Parks in the north and at Graeme Hall. Then they blew $150 million on a failed dump at Greenland (in what was to have been a National Park), and changed the law to build on the protected watershed at Graeme Hall: the very last green space between the airport and the city. The politicians sold our best asset: the view of the sea. Bit by bit they allowed their developer friends to wall off large parts of the coast so there’s nothing to see but concrete monoliths and no place for tourists or locals to park and access the beach.

As the economy tanked, food prices skyrocketed and businesses and hotels closed. Petty crime is now a daily concern. One BFP reader recently left a comment that says it all:

“Crime. You can’t grow a tomato without someone hop the fence and steal it. leave a box of laundry detergent on the porch an it be gone! It is not big crime that is killing us it is little crimes. thousands of little crimes every day. every person for themselves. pen on a desk. lunch in the fridge at work! they steal you lunch at work!!!

Crime is killing us but it is not robbery or violent crime, it is little everyday crime that is destroying this island.”

… comment posted by BFP reader Culpepper-X

So now the monied people – the jet setters, the polo players – are starting to look at other places. No doubt that St. Lucia’s new airport will one day see the same squadron of Gulfstreams, Learjets and Falcons that still lines up on the tarmac at Grantley Adams. Sad, but also reality.

There is still time folks. We can turn this around. We can recover much of what we had that attracted people to our little rock.

But we’re not going to do it by electing the same old politicians from any party. We need good citizens to stand as independent candidates, and to band together in opposition to those who are destroying our country.

We’d better make big changes, and we’d better do it fast – because in this day we can’t hide the reality any longer…

Barbados: Don’t Bother, Frankly

by Rubia Tinctorum

Something disturbing is happening on Barbados – the Caribbean experience is being drowned in a tsunami of greed and gravel. With tax dodgers, celebrities, footballers and bloated businessmen all flocking to the island prices have soared. Even my rich friend Lady Carol Parsons complains. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Economy

Afra Raymond on Heritage Radio 101.7fm – 6:30am July 31, 2012

Read Afra’s latest piece on CLICO, CL Financial: The Sacred Cow

Tune in to Trinidad’s Heritage Radio 101.7fm to hear Afra Raymond talk about 50 years of Trini independence.

Listen online here!

Comments Off on Afra Raymond on Heritage Radio 101.7fm – 6:30am July 31, 2012

Filed under History, Trinidad and Tobago

Who is in charge of the Royal Barbados Police Force?

Two policing factions have been at war for years over which group calls the shots at the RBPF. On any given day the factions of Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin or his sworn enemy Deputy Bertie Hinds might be on top. Crime fighting strategies have given way to court battles over who appears on the promotion list. And the sad fact is that the retirement of Dottin or Hinds wouldn’t solve the problem: we’re talking factions, groups – not two strong personalities who can be removed to solve the problem.

Now the court has had to step in and order Commissioner of Police Dottin to not proceed any further with the latest list of officers to be promoted.

Repeat after me, class: “Banana Republic”

The people of Barbados deserve better than this.

Here’s an idea for the court and the impotent DLP government: promote whomever gets rid of the Boscobel Toll Gang, and fire the rest.

So who’s in charge of the Royal Barbados Police Force?

I don’t know. See if you can figure it out yourself.

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Filed under Barbados

TripAdvisor hits 75 million reviews: Barbados Tourism Authority thinks it can be ignored.

The largest, most popular travel website on earth is TripAdvisor.com. Founded in the dot-com boom 12 years ago, the website survived and thrived due to the emphasis on the opinions of ordinary folk who have no agenda except honest reviews of accommodations and services during their travels.

Oh sure, businesses and others attempt to skew the results, but TripAdvisor is wise to the common schemes designed to misuse the venue. And if TripAdvisor discovers that someone has an agenda to make or break a hotel or attraction, the website ruthlessly hunts down the offenders, kills their writing and makes sure that users can rely upon the integrity of the website.

That’s why TripAdvisor is the #1 travel website on the planet.

TripAdvisor just hit 75 million reviews and opinions… so the BTA did what?

The Barbados Tourism Authority does not have a dedicated program to monitor TripAdvisor and to address the negative and positive comments and reviews about Barbados. Such an omission is inexcusable.

But, hey… what do you want from the BTA having to operate with only a lousy $100 million dollar annual budget?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

A simple, cost-effective idea to deliver more tourists to Barbados

Why didn’t the Barbados Tourism Authority do this already? Don’t even bother to ask…

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

From 7th September until 14th November, American Airlines lower their mileage requirement to allow return travel from any point they serve in the Continental United States, Canada or Mexico to Barbados for just 25,000 miles.

So whether you live in the north east corridor, midwest or pacific coast area, the miles required are the same irrespective of distance travelled. Geographically it opens up access to Barbados to millions of potential visitors that might normally find the normal published fare, financially inhibitive.

Take Seattle, Washington State, as an example. The lowest bookable fare online is US$832.40, but still only 25,000 miles through AAdvantage, plus a nominal US$56.50 in taxes and add-ons.

But some may say, you have to spend at least US$25,000 to obtain the minimum miles required. Not so, as many credit card issuers are giving very generous incentives for switching to their product.

Citibank is currently offering their Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature credit card where you receive a bonus of 30,000 miles if you spend just US$1,000 in the first three months of membership. It doesn’t end there. You also get priority boarding, 25 per cent discount on certain in-flight purchases, a US$100 flight discount once a year, Double miles on eligible AA purchases, 10 per cent of your redeemed miles back and the annual fee waived for the first year.

Of course, certain conditions apply and unless the monthly balance is settled on time, in full, like any other similar card, interest will be payable.

So to summarise, just by selectively using this card to pay any one of number of bills totaling $1,000 or more, you have already created the means to reach Barbados and return home for $56.50.

With over 69 million members, AAdvantage can offer substantially more, in fact, than the entire adult population of the United Kingdom, which is still our largest single market.

How do we reach this potential?

The simplest way would be to smart partner with CitiBank and the airline and use their current methods of communicating with clientele. As an attention getter, a number of accommodation prizes would spark interest and help drive destination choice. The national marketing agency could also pre-purchase miles and lower the minimum requirement, making it  even more attractive for travellers. Even at consumer rates, 5,000 miles can be bought for around US$100.

Corporate bulk quantities can be negotiated at substantially discounted rates.

What a programme like this does at a stroke, is immediately take away, what many pundits argue, that because Barbados is further away, its more expensive to reach. And if a promotional campaign like this is rolled out in time, monitoring of its success or failure could easily be policed by incorporating a code like the unique flight booking record locator and the name of the final accommodation choice.

While the concerted regional battle goes on to address the injustices of the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty), whatever may be finally agreed, it is not going to make a meaningful  difference to visitor arrival numbers for the remainder of this summer.

So why don’t we concentrate on something that could drive additional business, or at least give it a try!

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Barbados Attorney General admits Integrity Legislation is dead, dead, dead

Integrity Legislation has no chance and Adriel Brathwaite knows it!

Hey folks:

The Bajan news media isn’t carrying the real story. The Nation and the rest are repeating the government line like they rely upon the government advertising to survive…

Oh… wait… The mainstream Bajan news outlets do rely upon government advertising to survive! Do you think that impacts their editorial decisions? We think it does and that any citizen can see that our news media isn’t giving us the truth. Here at BFP we say that the Bajan news media sold their souls a long time ago and consequently the public is fed a version of the news that is less than citizens deserve.

Attorney General Adrel Brathwaite says:

“Legislatively, we have the anti-corruption legislation which is before a joint committee of Parliament. We had promised that we would have that done before the end of the year. It’s my hope that we can get it within a month or two.”

… from the Nation article AG spells out crime plans

Listen, Brathwaite: that’s a lie. Your government said they would put forth the anti-corruption legislation four years ago – within 100 days of being elected.

So your statement is a big fat lie. Liar.

Now let’s talk about what happens even if your government passes the integrity legislation in the next few months: It will never be proclaimed as law before the next election because it will die in the Senate. You know this, you liar. You know this legislation will never become law. You also know the Freedom of Information legislation that you promised is rotting in its grave. The conflict of interest rules and Code of Conduct that the DLP promised to implement from day one were the first two promises to die.

Liar.

Integrity Legislation is four years and more past due. It is dead, dead, dead.

Liar.

Here’s what Brathwaite told the Nation. Please read it at their website, but we have to reprint the whole thing here because the paper has a history of deleting articles to change history. Too bad…

AG spells out crime plans

A drug court is on the cards and anti-corruption legislation may be agreed in a month or two. Just as important, says Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, the Government is moving on legislation to boost the offshore international sector which has been hit by competition from Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas.

He also dealt with crime, the Police Force and complaints against lawyers in an interview with THE NATION’s North American Correspondent Tony Best in New York last week.

What are some of the things you want to get done before the next election?

Brathwaite: Legislatively, we have the anti-corruption legislation which is before a joint committee of Parliament. We had promised that we would have that done before the end of the year. It’s my hope that we can get it within a month or two. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press

The heartache and frustration of renovating historical buildings in Bridgetown

Building before renovation

From a mutual friend we (and every other news media outlet in Barbados) received another sad tale of outrageous abuse by our government officials against an investor and business person who was doing something positive in the community.

You want a lesson in how a few narrow-minded bureaucrats can take six years to pass a few pieces of paper around and discourage even the most enthusiastic foreign investor? Read on…

The document speaks for itself, so we’ll let ‘er rip…

By Ryan Thorpe: property owner, business investor

Telephone (246) 2687665
Email : RyanThorpe69@hotmail.com

Historical Building : Violet Bourne’s Bar and Andy’s Bakery & Deli 116 Roebuck Street
Bridgetown

This property was on the market for sale over 6 years (1999)

Mr recommendation to: The Bill for the preservation of places, structures and relics or other object of archeological, historical and cultural interest.

To :

Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, the Hon Stephen Lashley,

Permanent Secretary, Division of Culture and Sports, Ms Shirley Farnum

Deputy Permanent Secretary, Division of Culture and Sports, Ms Celia Toppin:

Dear all,

Site Description

The subject site is one of the typical small urban lots on Roebuck Street. Roebuck Street is a Class 1 road according to the Town and Country Planning Development Order 1972. This street is one of the seven Cultural Heritage Conservation Areas identified within the Bridgetown Community Plan Boundary. The sites contain a two storey stone building that has been identified by the Barbados National Trust and UNESO as a building for its historical and architectural value. The building on Lot 116, like most other heritage buildings along the throughfare of Bridgetown occupies the majority of the land space zero degree to the boundaries lines.

The property was formerly known as “V Bourne’s Bar” which was a popular Rum shop for liquid lunch, cutters, rock cakes, lead pipes and fish cakes in the 1970’s situated on the ground floor. The first floor was living quarters for the same shop keeper’s family and later in the 1980’s was a Tailors shop.

This property was renovated to almost the same architectural design alike the 1800’s, approximately six years ago by me (Ryan Thorpe) the owner and property developer resulting in a change of use to facilitate more up market retail space and corporate offices, harmonizing the old with the new designing. I have injected 40% physical labour and design into this project for this final finish.

I have resided and worked in the United Kingdom for the past ten years as a Multi-Skill Engineer with a International Blue Chip Companies and the United Kingdom government.

I was very happy with the area as an investment, having done tremendous historical research about the area, which holds so much history for Barbados and the Caribbean trading communities. I had some costly delays and setbacks with the Chief Town Planner, since it took that Department one year before the approval of my building plans, and one of the main requirements was to locate twenty five (25) parking facilities in Roebuck Street to accommodate my business venture i.e Change of use to public entertainment and Sports Bar (2011). I believe the government of Barbados should pay more attention to the Town Planning Department as these delays can hinder returning nationals and foreign investors from coming to Barbados to invest in our heritage. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy, Offshore Investments, Real Estate