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.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

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

  1. A policy holder

    Mr Loveridge, your comments are valuable and appreciated but you are as I understand it, no longer a small hotel owner, so perhaps you should correct the caption under your name! If I am wrong, my apologies

  2. 107

    “Politics in the air,” this is when one side accuse the other of their wrong doings, what about the mess they left behind? when a Government inherit massive debt payments how can they operate as a Government ?

    Why does a Government not expose the Debt they inherited. Tell the people what is going on. Tell the TRUTH

  3. R.C.

    This is indeed the silly season and from this article and other dangerous statements made by members of the current opposition party in Barbados it seems that the ladies and gentlemen in that party will go to any length to try to return this Country to the perilous state it was between 1994 and 2008.

    If the present Government is serious about winning the upcoming election and serving for a second term they should make public the very revealing Auditor-General’s reports delivered during those fourteen years mentioned above which were never allowed to be debated by the previous administration.

  4. St George's Dragon

    I thought one of the prime missions of BFP was to push for transparency in the public arena.
    BFP should therefore be supporting an opposition Minister who is telling us what is happening in the Barbados public sector around the world.
    So transparency but only when it suits? Only when it won’t affect tourism?


    transparency in the public arena.St George’s Dragon@, Will show the World and Ban the Massive Fraud ,
    Beatrice Henry and Violet Beckels are from the same Family , before being married , ,, Agard and Jemmot , the names appear on Barbados Maps sold dated 1745 ,, 2 Agard and 3 Jemmot name on Plantations , But was never shown on the web site that was removed this year. from the net.F.O.I , will drop BDS stock rating down even more in the World , The US went down under BUSH and OBAMA had to clean up , the same for Owen and Dave, this is Owen Mess , I wish David was still alive for he would have done a better work on this than the fool they have as PM now F.S
    Root titles and the deeds is the reason all them now cant catch them self , DLP and the BLP have to go they had their turn to fix , but crook on both sides,, So vote any one but them or you will get what you vote for ,, More taxes and fraud , and the card will all fall soon ,,
    Deeds is the Key ,, look in to it see what you can find ,
    Ask the PM or AG to show you all the deed and who and how they took it ,, ask the question , if they cant show it , its a lie ,, looking for free- dum , better get free-smart

  6. Adrian Loveridge

    A policy holder,

    No need for apologies.

    I (and my wife) are still small hotel owners. Along with many others, our hotel is up-for-sale and we have had a suprising amount of interest. We are currently maintaining and upgrading the property and will re-open on 1st December. It has always been our intention to sell the hotel as a going concern.

  7. 165

    @ Adrian what does that have to do with anything…..Your points are alwasy well made….well done.
    Barbados………wow what a island. It is if we are living in twilight zone !!

  8. Adrian Loveridge


    Thank you.

    An earlier poster questioned if I was still a hotel owner.

    I really find it concerning that no official denial has been made by the BTA or Minister of Tourism, which just leaves the industry to think that Mr. Toppin’s comments are factual.

  9. Mike M

    The BTA is a mess as is the Ministry of tourism. Like you, it is to me quite amazing that no denial was made in this amazing accusation which is potentially very damning and damaging.

    That fool Elcock was full of bold talk and bravado on being elevated to the chairmanship by his friend – Minister Sealy, but it is really quite stunning how quite he has been lately. Remember how he was always in the press (radio, print and tv) in the immediacy of his surprising elevation – practically daily!!

    Barbados is really quite an amazing place – cause I find it shocking that David Rice could just walk away from the presidency and as CEO with a flimsy stated reason of personal circumstances.

    The local media are a really a bunch of s–ts as no sort of investigative journalism is ever done when these sorts of announcements are made.

    What are these reasons??
    The position is important enough in the grand scheme of Barbados and our economy that it should merit more than two paragraphs when the CEO resigns.
    And – what about continuity and change management? They have now gone back to Urban Cumberbatch, once again by-passing Averil Byer, to head the organization and what does this say about her and the confidence – or lack thereof – in her ability. It is also amazing that a guy Cumberbatch was just reporting to in the USA is now calling him boss! Funny, funny.

    Adrian, I for one hope no one buys Peach n Quiet as Barbados will be a much poorer place with you gone as someone with knowledge and insight into tourism matters and who can also explain it in understandable terms, stays around.

  10. Check-This-Out

    If Toppin is correct about the Brazilian air-lift deal, they should all resign – Sealy included.

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    Mike M,

    Thank you.

    Next year, my wife and I celebrate collectively an amazing 100 years in the hospitality industry. My wife started at the tender age of 12 in a seaside restaurant on Britain’s most easterly inhabited island,and I, at 13 years old during my school holidays started training as a Commis de Rang at one of the UK’s oldest hotels (1559) the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton.

    The last 24 years on Barbados have been the most challenging of my life, despite having worked in tourism across 67 countries. I have become very weary trying to get our policymakers to adopt simple, yet proven effective ways to improve our industry. I notice that St. Maarten Jan-Jul long stay visitors are up 7 per cent and hotel occupancies up 16.7 per cent, so even during a recession, growth is possible.

  12. Bajan Lead Pipe

    The “silly season” indeed!
    Objective #1: Convince the voters that the ruling party is inept
    Objective #2: Convince the voters to elect your party to set things on a good footing

    To attain these objectives due care must be taken to avoid accepting any blame for the mess the ruling party inherited from your party.
    Next avoid telling the voters that you will need a second term to clean-up the mess because you did not realize the full extent of the mess the ruling left you…..yep that same mess you left them, which they further compounded.

    Yep it is the “silly season” …that time when the line between genuine politics and poly-tics, or, many bloodsuckers, is blurred

  13. Carson C. Cadogan

    They know a lot about running from baliffs.

    When many Barbados Labour Party government ministers entered Parliament, they were being chased by baliffs.

    However they all emerged from Parliament fourteen years later as Multi millionaires on Ministers salaries.