Monthly Archives: October 2012

Arab Spring withers in Tunisia – One woman’s battle

“A woman gang-raped by the police was later prosecuted.”

by Souhir Stephenson

ON Oct. 23, 2011, I voted for the first time as a Tunisian citizen. It was the first election of the Arab Spring. Pictures of smiling, proud voters flooded the Internet. The world watched, surprised and hopeful. Moderate political Islam in the Arab world was touted as a possibility rather than an oxymoron.

A year later, we have no democracy, no trust in elected officials, no improved constitution. Human rights and women’s rights are threatened. The economy is tanking.

Tourism is dwindling. Who wants to vacation among bands of bearded savages raiding embassies, staking their black pirate flag over universities or burning trucks carrying beer?”

Meanwhile, our government and puppet president watch, without arresting these Salafist extremists.

We have one thing left from our revolution: free speech. That is why Facebook is filled with outrage and cell-phone videos of the madness; why we exchange skits and caricatures of our dictators, past and present. If something will save us, it will be our refusal to shut up again.

… continue reading the New York Times article Tunisia, a Sad Year Later

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Filed under Human Rights, Religion

DLP’s United Kingdom branch a train wreck: Ping Yark newsletter reports!

Where did all the DLP UK chapter money go?

Some friends of Barbados Free Press in the U.K. produce an irreverent newsletter called Ping Yark – published by homesick Bajans for other homesick Bajans. Leigh Bourne and a handful of others who refuse to surrender to Londontown publish Ping Yark quarterly, or to be more accurate, “more-less” quarterly. Holding the newsletter in your hands, and turning each page, you are rewarded with memories, current politics and many oh-so-secret secrets of the elites.

Today Leigh and company are at it again and their lead story is about the disastrous visit of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to the DLP’s U.K. branch.

Hey… you never saw this reported in the Bajan newspapers…

“TO THE MORTIFICATION of the DLP UK branch powers that be… to call their recent dinner dance a ‘FUBAR’ would be a massive understatement. The DLP UK train didn’t simply tap the buffers … it was driven blindly at breakneck speed into the immoveable object – this FUBAR is the talk of the town. But it all started out so positively … so what happened? This could be a very brief article cos in short, Anderson (champagne tastes and sweet water pockets) Connell … happened!”

“AND SO IT HAS COME TO PASS that yet again ego and a sycophantic desire to impress have outweighed the funding ability of the group. History has repeated itself and this time in the presence of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, his entourage and High Commissioner Anthony Arthur. . Embarrassing or what ! Its not hard to imagine the shortfall when at a £60 per head function less than 100 patrons attend.. and were reliably informed that one supporter alone was responsible for nearly half that number. We’ve not yet ..and probably never will see the financial breakdown but it appears that rubbing shoulders and photo opportunities carried a higher priority than the welfare and or future prospects of the group.”

… from the October 2012 issue of Ping Yark (download below)

How many women does one man need?

Amongst a multitude of other subjects, the latest Ping Yark also covers Unity’s Fundraiser at Annerley Town Hall a few weeks ago. Hmmmm… from the photos it looks like certain folks enjoyed themselves and made new friends. Oh Yes! Ya can take de Bajan from Bim, but ya can’t take Bim from de Bajan!  🙂

Download the latest issue of Pink Yark right here. (6 mb download PDF)

And yes, it’s time for Leigh and the gang to head over to WordPress.com and fire up their own blog.

The DLP has been in scandal mode in the U.K. for a long time…

“Jaws outside the meeting dropped too when it was revealed that despite all the balls, dinner dances, dances, coach trips and excursions organised by DLP UK down the years – not a single penny in donations has been received by DLP HQ since 1986. Stark contrast to the New York branch it must be said. Dutiful fully paid up members here are right in asking – where did all the money go ? Who had / has it ?”

… from the Barbados Free Press article Former Prime Minister David Thompson personally funded DLP UK branch

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

International Monetary Fund presses Barbados to devalue the Barbados dollar

UPDATED November 5, 2013

Preparing the population for devaluation?

Once again there are calls for Barbados to devalue its currency – this time from the Inter-American Development Bank.

There’s talk on the radio and in some of the local rags. How will devaluation impact me? Will more tourists come? Will imported food go skyrocketing or will homegrown food crops rise again?

I don’t trust anybody anymore. I just know that things are not going to get better anytime soon. Here’s what Marcus wrote about this time last year…

Original article published October 31, 2012…

Devaluation: How would it impact me?

“To most of us in the Caribbean, it does not seem rational to impoverish yourself to grow your economy. To us, it is obvious that is what devaluation implies. The point is not so obvious to Americans and Europeans.”

… Dr. DeLisle Worrell, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados

We’ve been saying for several years that things are not getting better, and that the future on Bim isn’t pretty. The best and brightest of our young people regularly pack their bags for the USA and the UK if they are at all able – and who can blame them?

Want to know what the future will bring? Have a look at what your Members of Parliament are doing. Duguid is headed for Canada. Donville Inniss family maintains property, business and finances in the USA. Those gentlemen aren’t stupid, you know.

Bajans have been living high – way too high for our productivity. That’s true for us as individuals and it’s true for the country. Now those chickens are coming home, and they are some thin chickens.

An interesting press release by the Central Bank of Barbados that we haven’t seen in any of the local papers. Did we miss it?

It seems obvious that Bim is now under some pressure from the IMF and others to devalue our dollar that is currently pegged to the US dollar at two for one.

Should we devalue? What does that mean for me? What does that mean for my children?

“What good will devaluation do if we don’t address the lack of productivity, the degrading tourism environment and the prevalence of corruption in public service?”

Sometimes there isn’t an easy way out…

Central Bank of Barbados : Press Statement

10/29/2012



The issue discussed at the breakfast meeting with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and the President of the World Bank was whether devaluation was beneficial for small economies. Madame Lagarde was of the opinion that a devaluation of the Barbados dollar would make our tourism more competitive and help our economy to grow. To most of us in the Caribbean, it does not seem rational to impoverish yourself to grow your economy. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Economy

Rats, Round-up herbicide and Genetically Modified Corn

What is happening to our bodies?

Everybody has an agenda, but the wonderful thing about the internet is that information is no longer restricted and controlled by ‘official’ gate-keepers. As a sovereign human being I am able to examine all the information and then make up my own mind.

What do I think about genetically modified organisms? I’m not sure yet… but I’m getting nervous with the more information I receive from all sides and from the observations I make myself.

Not that it’s related to GMO corn or Round-up, I am curious about the apparent drastic reduction in the age at which females usually experience their first menses. One of the girls in our extended family is just entering puberty. She’s eight years old, just turned.

Tell me if I’m wrong folks, but I don’t think that happened twenty or thirty years ago, at least not with the frequency we hear about now.

What is happening to our bodies… and why?

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Science

A distastrous combination: Weak controls over public money, and a culture of allowing white collar crime

“Please note that the entire project cost about $1.6Bn, yet about $1.0Bn was stolen and hidden in offshore accounts. That is the true extent of the corruption we are fighting against and that is why I have called it a tidal wave of corruption.”

… Afra Raymond on the Piarco Airport scandal

“If you are serious about making a difference, you have to develop the fortitude to turn away from matters which are merely true and interesting, so that you can focus your time and energies on what is really decisive…”

by Afra Raymond

That is my attempt to paraphrase the late Lloyd Best, as he spoke emotionally to a meeting in about 2004 at the Centre of Excellence. If we are serious, we need to ignore the pathetic distractions and keep our eyes on the ball.

Following on from my previous column on S.34, there are two main issues emerging at this time…

Firstly, the entire Plot to Pervert Parliament was an outcome of the Piarco Airport scandal, said by the DPP to involve some $1.0Bn of stolen Public Money.  Please note that the entire project cost about $1.6Bn, yet about $1.0Bn was stolen and hidden in offshore accounts.  That is the true extent of the corruption we are fighting against and that is why I have called it a tidal wave of corruption.  A well-planned assault on our Treasury by leading elements of international organised crime.

This is to refute those deceivers who try to soften us up for the poison by saying that ‘is only a lil 10% and it does happen everywhere’.  The truth has a power of its own.  The JCC played a leading role in calling for and submitting evidence to the Bernard Commission which exposed abuse of power and corrupt practices in some of the highest offices in our country.  The Piarco Accused needed to escape trial because of the effective work done by the Bernard Commission in exposing criminal abuses of Public Money.  There are also strong elements of political party financing at work here, much like in the CL Financial bailout fiasco.

The lack of an effective Public Procurement system is what allowed the Piarco Airport scandal.”

Secondly, public trust in this administration seems to be at an all-time low after the Plot to Pervert Parliament was exposed.  To a lesser extent, that loss of trust could also be affecting the Opposition PNM.
The offending S.34 has now been repealed, yet the public clamour continues.  So what is to be done?

The campaign of wild distractions

Having had to endure an insulting and incomplete attempted explanation from our PM, we are now being subjected to a sustained campaign of distractions.

There seems to be a scramble from both sides to shower each other with allegations of large-scale corruption.  No need to list the examples, there is plenty of mud to go around.  While there are serious questions on the THA/BOLT project as well as the Calcutta Settlement lands, I will not be writing on those yet.

This crisis is an important opportunity to decide if we want to do differently.  Do we?  If not, crapaud smoke we pipe.  If we really want to do differently, we have to start thinking differently and stop the point-scoring games.

This series of crises which have beset us are all related to weak controls over Public Money and a culture which sees white collar crime going unpunished.

There are three linked and effective actions which must be taken now – Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Shadow Tourism Minister Ronald Toppin: “Barbados Tourism Authority ‘running from bailiffs around the world.” !!!

Outrageous statement from Barbados Labour Party Member of Parliament

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Sadly every five years or so, we have grown accustomed to, and sometimes forced into hearing some pretty outrageous utterings from those that either represent us in Parliament – or who aspire to.

A video recently posted on YouTube really grabbed my attention, features such a person, while addressing his constituents. Perhaps the phrase ‘political silly season’ explains this situation graphically.

I quote verbatim from shadow Minister of Tourism, Ronald Toppin: ‘The Barbados Tourism Authority owes $42 million’, ‘is in serious debt’ and is literally ‘running from bailiffs around the world’.

Perhaps from an ordinary citizen, these comments could simply be disregarded as pure speculation, but on this occasion, they were spoken by the Shadow Minister of Tourism. Despite the video being widely distributed, no statement in rebuttal, up until the time of submitting this column has been made by the current actual Minister of Tourism or a spokesperson for the BTA, so we are all left to speculate if these statements are factually true.

Mr. Toppin was rather vague on what exactly the quoted $42 million owing covered. Does this include the $30 million loan taken out to subsidise the disastrous chartering of the cruise ship, Carnival Destiny, for instance, which of course, took place under the previous administration?

Knowing the worldwide coverage of social media sites, the question that really has to be raised: are these seemingly ‘informed’ comments in the national interest? To remind readers that YouTube is the most popular video sharing site and the second largest search engine, only after Google.

Did this person consider the incalculable harm that could be inflicted on the reputation of the destination?

It would be almost impossible to function as an effective national marketing organisation without the support of advertising agencies, public relations companies and the various forms of paid media – Let alone the airlines who currently service Barbados, that Mr. Toppin also mentioned are supposedly owed monies. We have already lost substantial airlift and gateways including Philadelphia, Atlanta and more recently, Dallas/Fort Worth.

The video also appears to have official Barbados Labour Party approval as it was posted by BLPNews, which has a direct link to the opposition website.

Of course the slowness in the BTA settling its bills is nothing new. Many will tell you that it has been going on for years. What is surprising, is the amount quoted and why has it has been allowed, if proven, to have lingered on so long – Especially, when the current Chairman has a degree in accounting and spent a number of years with one of the world’s largest auditing firms. Surely, he is kept fully briefed on financial matters and realises the damaging knock-on effect this could have?

When for instance, the next tender goes out, either for renewing an existing account, or replacing the current advertising agency, I cannot imagine any reputable company pitching for the business, would not conduct fiscal due diligence to gauge a potential client’s track history of prompt settlement.

With so many critical issues already challenging our number one foreign currency earner, is it too much to hope, that the contributions made by our politicians, either in power or opposition, leading up to the election are constructive and enlightened.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Barbados continues the CLICO – Democratic Labour Party cover-up

In Trinidad…

“We are taking the position that CLICO was a massive fraud on the public.”

Ewart Williams, Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank Governor, July 6, 2012

Meanwhile, in Barbados there is no mention of the ‘special relationship’ between CLICO and the governing Democratic Labour Party.

No mention at all in this Barbados Advocate article or anywhere else we can find…

Green light for CLICO restructuring

10/27/2012

A plan to restructure CLICO International Life Insurance Limited has been approved by the High Court of Barbados. So too has been the completion of the Forensic Audit into the insurance company’s affairs.

Judicial Manager for the company, Deloitte Consulting Ltd. (represented by Oliver Jordan and Patrick Toppin), made the announcement yesterday afternoon in a press release. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption