Daily Archives: December 14, 2012

Kickbacks at Queen Elizabeth Hospital: Supplier “a shadow company” ?

bribery.jpg

Something ‘on the side’ as Bajan as whistling frogs

Call it ‘consulting fees’ or whatever you like. Everybody on this little rock knows what you’re talking about. It’s that extra one percent or ten percent or twenty percent that taxpayers pay for everything; for every road project, for every new school desk, for every latch and toilet in the new prison. For everything.

And it has cost our children and our grandchildren and Barbados the greatness we have sought and so rightly deserve. It undermines our economy. It teaches our young people that success comes from manipulation and theft, not hard work. These ‘consulting fees’ are never asked for, never offered in a direct manner. It is subtle and incideous because it is so casual and difficult to prove. And on this little rock, no one likes to say too much about the subject.

Now it is done subtly, never with too much flash like the old days… and it works like this:

I want that government contract for that new school, or new road or new batch of medical supplies for the hospital. You have the ability to make that contract happen, or to influence the information that the deciding government official bases the purchasing decision upon. You also have a son who wants to go to school over and away. So… my company hires your son as a ‘consultant’. Maybe he gets some ‘reports’ or ‘research’ for my company to make things look good. Then my company pays your son in the UK while he’s going to school.

And my company gets that contract.

See? Nothing wrong there! Just people doing business. Can anybody prove there is a trade? Can anybody prove that the consultant job is related to the government contract? See? Nothing wrong there!

Except… there is something wrong…

Bajans for Prosperity says…

Duguid recently pointed out on national airways that certain items were being purchased by the QEH from J&R World Trade at rates substantially higher than could be obtainable locally. Duguid has called J&R a “shadow company”.  Although  J&R claims to have been in business for 25 years, we are not of the opinion that Duguid is entirely wrong. We are convinced that J&R is in fact one of the companies through which (Name removed by BFP editor) makes certain arrangements to inflate costs and put extra cash from the QEH into his pocket. If it is not his own pockets being lined, then as (position removed by BFP) we believe that he should take all the blame nonetheless for the purchasing scandal nonetheless. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption

Barbados Chief Justice to meet with a man. Will consider maybe putting up website!!!!!

CHIEF Justice of Barbados Sir Marston Gibson is of the view that there should be greater use of technology in the Supreme Court of Barbados.

Yesterday, he revealed that he would be meeting with a visiting official who would assist in getting court decisions available via the World Wide Web, “so that you can be sitting in Germany and go onto our website or their website and see our decisions,” he said.

Barbados Advocate: Use Technology more!

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Filed under Education

Loveridge: Barbados upscale image now a liability for tourism?

Barbados offers good value for tourists – but who knows?

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

One of the areas I think that we (Barbados) have not done as well as we could have, is getting across to our various markets that many of our tourism establishments do in fact offer value-for-money.

Over the years ‘we’ have spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing this image that we are, in some eyes, an iconic and aspiration destination. For many, I am sure that rings true, but with most of our main sources of business under considerable economic pressure, with an ever higher percentage of regular travellers having to consider the cost of their annual holiday, is there more we can do?

Personally, I really think so.

Tourism leakage at 80%

Many eminent people and agencies have written on the subject of the tourism leakage effect, which varies greatly, but some estimate could be as high as 80 per cent in the Caribbean. In very simple terms, it is what visitors spend on goods and services and the proportion that is re-exported to, in many cases pay for what they are consuming here.

According to a UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) report, the highest overall leakage is with all-inclusive package tours, perhaps not surprisingly. The Tourism Concern organisation also concluded that all-inclusive properties employ fewer people per dollar of revenue and have a smaller trickle down effect on the local economy.

Our high dependency of tour operator generated business further compounds the inequitable situation.

So when our policymakers brag about annual tourism revenues of anything approaching BDS$2.4 billion, this graphically highlights the problem and far better anaylsis has to take place to ascertain the amount which actually stays within the destination. If ‘we’ are simply generating revenue, only to spend the majority of it on items that ultimately have to be imported and paid for in foreign currency, what are we achieving?

It clearly would be almost impossible to reduce this to zero, but certainly there is scope to reduce the current percentage. Producing more of what our visitors buy is the obvious solution, which gets us back again to value-for-money.

I don’t believe for a moment that our visitors expect to come to Barbados and be served, as an example, Aberdeen Angus steak, assume it will  taste better and perhaps most relevant, for it to cost less than they pay at home. Is this ‘our’ perception of what visitors actually demand or would they be far more amenable to sampling locally available items, especially if they were far less expensive?

Smart linkages to other sectors are absolutely critical to our fiscal recovery, in the shortest time. While this seems such an blatantly obvious observation, I don’t always see it working to the very best effect.

“It is estimated that approximately one-third of all tourist spending is on food, so agriculture seems the clear target to work with, to reduce imported consumables.” But while this topic has been discussed at length over many years,  progress appears slow to address this issue, perhaps because the sector appears fragmented and disorganised.

Is this just the perspicuity of those of us in the industry or based on the reality of the situation?

10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism