Monthly Archives: December 2012

I want to see Life of Pi at the Limegrove Cinemas

Someone should buy me a gift certificate for Limegrove Cinemas!

You can click on their logo and get to their website. December 23, 2012 at 7pm is my choice!  😉

limegrove cinemas barbados

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Filed under Barbados

Cuban journalist jailed for reporting Cholera Epidemic in Cuba

cuba journalist prison

Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias still in prison

Rumours of changes to the iron fisted ‘peoples’ government of Cuba are greatly exaggerated as we learn that a Cuban journalist languishes in prison for (gasp) reporting about cholera and dengue epidemics in Cuba.

Martinez’s ‘mistake’ was that he reported in June 2012 that Manzanillo officials were hiding a cholera epidemic from the public. (Hey… wouldn’t want to hurt the tourist business, would we?)

Every once in a while you think things are improving, but then you are dragged back to reality. The Cuban people must be free: and that doesn’t mean back to being a puppet of the USA or Russia or China. Freedom means: freedom for individuals and freedom for the country to determine their own paths. And for journalists to report on matters of public interest.

Feliz Navidad to Calixto Ramón Martínez Aria. We’ll say a prayer for you and your friend Alexander Roberto Fernández Rico.

Reprinted from wefightcensorship.org. Please go to their website to read the full article Radio Silence on Cholera Epidemic?

Radio Silence on Cholera Epidemic?

Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a journalist who works for Hablemos Press, a Havana-based independent information centre, was arrested on 16 September 2012 after writing about cholera and dengue epidemics in Cuba. Two months later, he managed to call Hablemos Press from Havana’s Combinado del Este prison, defying an order by the prison authorities forbidding him to use the phone. During the call, which Hablemos Press recorded, he talked about the degrading conditions inside the prison. After the call, the Hablemos Press phone line was temporarily disconnected and Martínez was placed in solitary confinement. But the Combinado del Este’s political prisoners have managed to keep the outside world informed about his plight. Continue reading

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Filed under Cuba, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights

Someone email Harry Hansford please!

Hi folks,

We’ve emailed Harry a couple of times giving Nelson Thornes Ltd. permission to use an excerpt from Barbados Free Press, but our proxy server is having trouble getting an email to him.

So how about some of our fans email him for us and refer him to our article that gives him permission…

Barbados Free Press article again used in school textbook

Thank you!

Here is Harry’s email…

Harry Hansford
Permissions and Visual Media Buyer
Nelson Thornes Ltd
+44 (0)1242278430
hhansford@nelsonthornes.com

Comments Off on Someone email Harry Hansford please!

Filed under Barbados

Harlequin Property to make refunds to disgruntled investors: or so their lawyers say.

Harlequin & David Ames: Ponzi Scheme House of Cards?

Harlequin & David Ames: Ponzi Scheme House of Cards?

“Some investors asked for refunds, but in some cases were told up to a third of their deposit would not be repaid because it has been spent on commissions to sales agents and would be paid back over one to two years.”

“Harlequin is not authorized and regulated by the FSA, meaning there is no Government-backed protection for UK investors.”

What if everybody wanted their money back now?

Man oh man! 30% commissions paid to sales agents? No wonder the ‘investment counselors’ push Harlequin! 30%!!!

Here’s from Echo News and you should go their website to read Resort developer “to pay back cash” but you know we have to print the whole story here in case the Echo News story disappears like before times…

Resort developer “to pay back cash”

4:00pm Friday 14th December 2012 in Local News By Jon Austin

A SOUTH Essex-based Caribbean luxury resort developer hit by delays has confirmed it will pay back some investors.

Harlequin Property, based in Honywood Road, Basildon, says it will return any cash they are entitled to.

Nine investors are involved in court claims filed against Harlequin at the East Caribbean Supreme Court to get back deposits and compensation plus damages for alleged misrepresentation by the firm.

It comes as the Echo can reveal the business has been probed by the UK finance watchdog the Financial Services Authority. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

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?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

A sad passing… and life goes on.

barbados-dove-funeral

Dear friends,

Sadly we have been over and away for a week.

Life will never be the same again but life goes on ’bout hey.

Our heartfelt condolences to family and friends.

We’ll be back to normal in a few days because life does go on…

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Prevention of Corruption Act not law – probably will not become law. “Timed to fail”

no time left

We at BFP don’t share the enthusiasm of the traditional press. We don’t think the Prevention of Corruption Act will become law before the next election. We think it’s all timed to fail.

 

What say our readers?

Timing is everything, and time has run out for Integrity Legislation

The DLP are congratulating themselves with the passing in the Lower House of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2012 – timed exquisitely to coincide with the latest release of Transparency International’s perceived corruption index.

Amidst the celebrations in the local press is a distinct lack of questioning: Why only now? Why not in 2011 or 2010? Why did the bill sit for years with nothing happening?

Why only now? That’s easy!

The Barbados Advocate makes point number one: The act isn’t law yet. Several more steps are needed…

“This is not to say, of course, that the Prevention of Corruption Act 2012 is yet law. It still has to be debated in the Upper House and, after that, it will have to be proclaimed into force. But the necessary first step was retaken two days ago after an earlier attempt at debate last July saw the Bill being referred to a Joint Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament for further consideration.”

… from The Barbados Advocate story On preventing corruption

Point two: The election will be called before the act becomes law.

Barbados Free Press predicted the current scenario several years ago. We predicted that the Democratic Labour Party government would go slow on Integrity Legislation, then pass it through the Lower House at the last moment before the next election. The act would then die before being proclaimed as law – allowing the DLP to claim they kept their promise while keeping the law from becoming reality.

Those piggies at the trough don’t want any gatekeepers, ya know!

AND DON’T FORGET: Integrity Legislation whatever it is called is of limited value when there is no Freedom of Information. The DLP promised Freedom of Information legislation too but it died years ago.

Nope. We’ll save our celebration, folks. This Prevention of Corruption Act is not law, and if I were a betting man, I’d bet it will not become law prior to the next election. Of course if the DLP figures it will lose the election, they might pass it quickly as a spoiler for the BLP, but that is a 2nd choice for the DLP because they doan want to face the Prevention of Corruption Act when it is their turn to again form the government.

Those bad bad bad Blogs…

Why, to listen to the debate in Parliament you’d think that the most evil things in the world are the Bajan blogs.Well my friends, there wouldn’t have been talk of Integrity Legislation without the blogs.

How dare those blogging citizens point out the corruption by elected and appointed government officials! How dare we point out the CLICO mess where Prime Minister David Thompson was CLICO’s lawyer when the bad stuff was happening! How dare we point out that Thompson as PM had a terrible conflict of interest with government policy about CLICO – the company his law firm made millions from!  How dare we point out that Thompson’s law firm received commission on the purchase of CLICO’s business jet! How dare we point out that Thompson’s government made incredible concessions to CLICO and also looked the other way when CLICO broke the rules.

Heck, Thompson himself was CLICO’s lawyer when the law about filing financial statements was ignored for years and years! The boys in Parliament can criticize blogs all they want: just so the Prevention of Corruption Act becomes law.

We at BFP don’t share the enthusiasm of the traditional press. We don’t think the Prevention of Corruption Act will become law before the next election. We think it’s all timed to fail.

What say our readers?

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption

CLICO, CL Financial: Trinidad and Tobago Director of Public Prosecutions calls for criminal actions against Duprey, others

Clico CL Financial Fraud

Trini DPP’s letter to Attorney General flowing freely on the internet

A September 10, 2012 letter from the Trini DPP to the Attorney General Ananad Ramlogan calling for Criminal actions against former CEO Lawrence Duprey is circulating freely on the internet and amongst professional journalists in the U.K. and throughout the Caribbean. Carefully worded news articles by the T&T Guardian, Caricom News Network and others report snippets of the letter but don’t quote even 1% of the juicy stuff.

We at BFP aren’t quite sure what we’ll do with this story. Do we publish the entire letter? Some? Bits and pieces?

The letter says that the DPP doesn’t intend to provide details to the public to “in order to avoid others destroying evidence and concealing assets.” Then there follows 25 pages of highly detailed facts including secret companies, secret deals and dirty deeds done dirt cheap on the backs of the public and little shareholders.

We have a feeling that “others’ already have a copy of the DPP’s letter and are busy shredding away records and selling assets if not already done, probably years ago!

But still, we can’t bring ourselves to publish the entire letter right now.

What say all, folks? Should we? Should we not?

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law

Harlequin’s Ames family: Police charge Matthew Ames with £1.2million investment fraud

Kate’s brother – James Middleton, right, at the carbon trade exhibition in London October 2010

Kate’s brother – James Middleton, right, at the carbon trade exhibition in London October 2010

Prince William’s brother-in-law, James Middleton, represented Matt Ames’ Ponzy scheme

Hey… told ya so! The Ames family was all over Kate Middleton’s brother like parasites.

The son of Harlequin’s David Ames has been charged with two counts of fraud. £1.2million is missing from investors’ pockets and Matthew Ames is charged by police.

The moral of the story? If you’re going to steal, steal big. Make it too big to fail, involve politicians up to their necks so you have some insurance – then you’ll not be taken down. Matt should have followed his father’s example and he wouldn’t have had any trouble. Oh well, maybe next scheme!

Now folks, you should visit the Echo-News website to read the story, but with the Harlequin related news we have to print the whole thing here because some of those stories get yanked and then where would we be? If we’re going to comment on this story, we have to keep our sources ya know!

Fraud charges for green firms’ boss

THE BOSS of two “green” finance firms which allegedly took more than £1.2million from investors has been charged with fraud.

Laindon-based Forestry for Life and the Investor Club allegedly took hundreds of thousands of pounds from people who paid into environmental investment schemes involving teak tree plantations and rainforest protection projects.

Matthew Ames, 37, from Goldfinch Lane, Thunderlsey, who ran both businesses from a converted farm barn in Dunton Road, Laindon, has been charged with two counts of fraudulent trading. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law

What is the meaning of a political MANIFESTO?

DLP Government: Condos & Quick Cash Trump The Environment & The Future

DLP Government: Condos & Quick Cash trumped 2008 Election Manifesto Promises & The Future

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I was recently taken to task by a DLP stalwart, who has run for office unsuccessfully at least twice (2003 and 2008), by questioning the intention of a manifesto put out by any political party.

I brought up the fact, that in the 2008 DLP manifeto stated a total 8 tourism objectives – None of which have been implemented.

His verbatim response was ‘I am not going to nitpick re unfulfilled DLP manifesto promises’. He went on to say that manifestos were simply ‘proposals’.

The Wikipedia definition is ‘A manifesto is a written public declaration of the intentions, motives or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group or political party’.

Which is the correct definition and what do the voting public expect from a manifesto?

Bearing in mind the upcoming general election, I think its a question that has to be discussed.

Thank You

Adrian Loveridge

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

Adrian Loveridge: So much wrong with the Barbados Tourism Authority

BeatDeadHorse

Adrian takes his cane to a dead horse called the Barbados Tourism Authority…

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

First in the interests of establishing impartiality, I think its important that I point out that I have never been a member of a political party during my sixty two years.

I vote, whenever practical, because it is seemingly my only tiny contribution to maintaining anything close to a democratic system and consider it both a right and a civic obligation.

When the current administration swept into office just a month short of five year ago, while observing entirely from a tourism perspective, a number of stated objectives were contained within their manifesto.

Included in these were to ‘restructure and strengthen the Barbados Tourism Authority’. At the time I remember asking the then Chairman, what was the time frame for this re-organisation. His reply still resonates in my ears. ‘Six months’ he confidently responded.

We all realise now that it wasn’t to be.

And that has left me asking the same question over and over again: If a private sector entity, spent hundreds of million of Dollars, employed upwards of 150 full and part time employees, consultants, contracted the services of advertising agencies, public relations companies etc., and didn’t produce any real growth for nearly five years, would it be deemed a failed business model? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Canada-Barbados tax treaty costs Canada billions in lost taxes

canada_barbados_flag

submitted by Taxing Stuff!

Examples of tax treaty reality: Every year Canadian “investors” send $40-70 billion to Barbados, the equivalent of over $140,000 for every man, woman and child, ostensibly as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), but most of it doesn’t stay in Barbados to build companies or jobs. Despite massive injections of “investment” into Barbados from Canada that is equivalent to six or more times the GDP of Barbados, the per capita GDP in Barbados is half that of Canada or the US.

There is no “brotherhood” here where two countries agree to invest the same amount in each other: In contrast to Canadian-US FDI exchange of approximately one dollar matched by each country, for every dollar of Canadian FDI to Barbados, Barbados sends a penny of FDI back. Under the terms and transparency of the Canada-Barbados Tax Treaty, Canada lost $1.5- 2.5 billion in taxes last year. Multiply this by numerous tax treaties with tax havens, and multiply it again by the fact that many of these treaties are decades old.

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Filed under Barbados, Canada

Come home to Barbados for Christmas!

You know… we ‘ave enough talent on this rock that we could probably put something like this together for Christmas 2013… only pure Bajan.

This one has almost 6 million views. You can post videos on YouTube for free, ya know!

Barbados Tourism Authority… how about it?

Give thanks to an old friend!

(Here’s another one from two years ago. Now at 39 million views!)

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Filed under Barbados

Barbados ends reflagging of Iranian vessels

Barbados voted for child execution

Barbados Supports Child Execution in Iran

Barbados should completely remove support at the U.N. for Iran

Whatever the problems and failures of Western societies, the Iranian government’s human rights abuses and promotion of hateful ideologies has few equals in the modern world.

Barbados has, in the past, shamefully supported Iran’s ‘right’ to execute children and hang gays and unmarried girls who have sex.

Barbados is now talking about deregistering Bajan-flagged Iranian vessels.

Is our attitude changing towards Iran? Is our re-flagging decision due to finally realizing we were aiding evil… or, did we cynically choose our action because the USA threatened us with sanctions?

Prime Minster Stuart… over to you Sir!

“Much of what drives Iranian politics and decision-making is a hatred of the West. The Iranian regime demonizes the U.S. as the ‘Great Satan,’ repeatedly and forcefully denies the Holocaust, pledges to wipe Israel off the map and threatens to overthrow or dominate America’s Persian Gulf allies. Moreover, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated his belief that the mission of Iran is to prepare the way for the imminent return of the ‘Hidden Imam’ messiah, whose reemergence will be preceded by a period of chaos and war. Nuclear weapons would give Iran the ability to realize this radical vision.”

“In the more than 30 years of its existence, the Iranian regime has violated international and diplomatic norms in every way imaginable. In light of this history, it is unlikely that Iran will behave as a responsible custodian of its nuclear arsenal.”

from the website United Against Nuclear Iran

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) applauded Barbados for ending its reflagging of Iranian vessels.

In a letter sent October 26 to Barbadian officials, UANI called on the nation to “cease the flagging of all Iranian vessels.” Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Human Rights