Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Man On My Left

The Man On My Left

When they broke my legs I didn’t cry
Had no more fears of the pain they could apply
Yesterday I was a hopeless thief but not today

He changed my outlook from 7 things he had to say
At that moment when He was hoisted in the crowd’s clear view
Very loudly He said “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”
Eyes focused on a lady He said “Woman behold thy Son”

Young man “Behold thy mother!” and to them he was done
Over to His left another thief pleaded that if He
Used to be the real Savior then He should save himself then we

Fear thou not God? I asked him, even here where we stand
Our punishment is justly deserved but not this guiltless man
Remember me, I told Him, and He told me for being this nice
Surely, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”
And at that moment I felt relieve’
King of the Jews, Savior of the world had given me a reprieve
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” and soon afterwards He said “I thirst”
No more to be done “It is finished” and He seemed worst

My Lord in His last breath, last words and shouting it
Exclaimed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”

By Khaidji

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1.3 million signatures on petition to Stop Flogging Rape Victims in The Maldives!

Maldives Holiday

Sign the petition to Stop Flogging Rape Victims in The Maldives!

15-year-old rape victim sentenced to be whipped 100 lashes in public

We at Barbados Free Press can’t understand why any thinking person would head to The Maldives for a vacation. They flog 15 year old rape victims for being raped, they simply hate western infidels and if you bring a Bible to the place you are likely to be put in jail or beaten.

Nice place for a vacation, indeed.

A few days ago we told you of another Maldives horror story about a 15 year old victim of incest, but it’s worse than we heard. Her step-father raped her for years and then when she became pregnant and had a baby, the step father murdered the child.

Then the Islamic Court sentenced HER to 100 lashes for having sex outside of marriage – for being raped by her step-father.

Frankly, that’s a very typical sentence from a typical Islamic court.

Now AVAAZ.org has created an online petition and they are up to almost 1.4 million signatures in only a few days – and when you watch the scrolling ‘recent signers’ column you’ll see a new name every few seconds.

To President Mohammed Waheed Hassan:

As concerned global citizens, we call on you to do more to protect vulnerable women and children. We welcome your government’s initial intervention in the case of the 15-year-old rape victim, but real justice will only be delivered when you end the practice of flogging in the Maldives, and change the law so that it better protects the victims of rape and sexual abuse.

Sign the petition here

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Filed under Human Rights, Religion

Crimes against tourists “Economic terrorism” but Barbados Bar Association says that’s not as important as everyone being shot in an equal manner

"The road is closed. I need ten dollars."

“The road is closed. I need ten dollars.”

Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association wants special courts for tourist crimes – Lawyers say no way

by passin thru

We have a problem on this island right now – crimes against locals and tourists alike have skyrocketed, including street robberies where people are injured. Old folks pushed down for their bags or slammed in the face as the evil creatures grab their chains or tear off their rings. I heard one story a few weeks ago where the robber carried a small dishsoap bottle and shoved the old lady down breaking her glasses then out with the soap and rip off those rings. That’s getting vicious even for some of the badd boys on the block.

A single crime against one tourist is economic terrorism.

The badd boys on the block have to know that if they touch a tourist, the police are going to hunt them down and the court is going to give them double.

Lately two British tourists off a cruise ship got shot on a Sunday afternoon walking in the daylight. Word of that spread and the rest of the tourists headed back to the boat lickity split. Just like what happens when you drop an elevator full of people in New York City – businesses leave that office building, and they don’t renew their leases no matter how much you lower the rent. You can tell ’em all the time that the elevators are fixed, inspected, repaired, replaced, brand new… tell ’em what you want but once you drop an elevator full of people in New York City it’s all over for five years because so many other buildings rent office space and they haven’t dropped any elevators lately.

Barbados has dropped a whole lot of elevators lately when it comes to crimes against tourists. What you what? We got it! Unsolved rapes with the wrong man in jail for two years? Check. Tourists shot off the cruise boats or walking near their hotel? Check. Tourists beaten on the beach trying to stop a purse grab? How many you want? Boscobel Toll Gang? Still in business as strong as ever. Long Beach rapes for two years and police did nothing until some poor tourist died? We had that too and the police never did find who was torturing all those dogs and hanging them in the bushy ridge. A person who would do that to a dog is a big danger to everyone, but the police say “It’s only a dog”.

Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), president Patricia Affonso-Dass says that a special court should be established for dealing with crimes against tourists. The Bar Association says that is unfair because it means that a crime against a citizen is then viewed as less serious.

Wide-eyed tourists are like little children and deserve more protection

I agree with the BHTA. Some crimes against certain victims are more serious. Crimes against children are always viewed more seriously because we know that the children can’t protect themselves as well as adults can.

It’s the same thing with tourists. They are like little children when they walk these fields and hills and streets and beaches and it is up to Barbados to protect them and look after them more than we normally do with adults.

And if we don’t look after the tourists specially, you know that St. Lucia or Cuba would be happy to take special care of them.

Winston Churchill once said “The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

I’ll change that and say that “The inherent virtue of equal status for all victims is the equal sharing of no tourist revenues.”

It’s the best I can do on a Thursday morning before work.

passin thru

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

Barbados Tourism – One man’s common-sense plan for an industry on the edge

barbados-beach-6.jpg

The Way Forward…

Special to Barbados Free Press

by R. Douglas Edmondson

While the talk of the day generally seems to be restructure or improve productivity in the tourism sector,  I have seen no new ideas on how that is to be done. Government officials and the Tourist Authority keep talking about finishing the Four seasons or Beachlands project or about expanding the port facility which means the focus will continue to be on the high end market, the same old path that has already reached its potential, and is a dead end therefore. Last year the Barbados Free Press picked up my story of 22 February 2012 where I said Barbados is a paradise lost if Barbadians don’t wake up to the fact that a whole new vision needs to be developed for tourism in Barbados, and that the middle class market was the future of tourism. The ideas below are my attempt to show the way forward.

“The airline industry has shown that a dynamic or variable pricing strategy over time is the means to a higher load factor with fewer empty seats… Surely the same strategy needs to be applied to the accommodation market here in Barbados.”

Part One  – Market to the Middle Class

On February 25th, 2013, Dr. Delisle Worrell, Governor of Central Bank of Barbados, gave a speech “Keep pace with the competition” stressing that the tourism sector should improve its productivity. In this speech, Dr. Delisle Worrell was quoted as saying “ So long as our prices are right we can sell to our full capacity” thus avoiding empty hotel rooms due to overpricing, or leaving tourist dollars in their pockets due to under pricing.

The idea that like the temperature of mama bear’s porridge, there is a price that is just right is erroneous. If the right price could be found, there wouldn’t be a 62 percent room occupancy rate over the year across the  region, and the government entity NPHL wouldn’t be unhappy that the Hilton Hotel, a 4.5 star property, was depending too heavily on the lowest category room rate to fill its rooms. But the Hilton is correct for the management has obviously realized there are not enough rich persons, the so called one percent, to fill the rooms at over $300 US dollars per night in winter.

What has amazed me is that so many hoteliers or guest house operators in Barbados maintain fixed seasonal daily rates even in the face of empty rooms. It seems as if the idea of providing weekly or monthly discount rate for tourists who will commit to a longer stay is not thought necessary here. Yet the airline industry has shown that a dynamic or variable pricing strategy over time is the means to a higher load factor with fewer empty seats. In economy class, a first rate is set which captures all those willing to pay that rate, after the rate is discounted for a time to catch the next income segment willing to afford that rate, and after returned to the higher rate to catch late-comers, then the rate is discounted further to fill more seats and the process is repeated again as needed. Surely the same strategy needs to be applied to the accommodation market here in Barbados.

In my opinion the root of some of the difficulty in the tourism sector is that the  government continues in the mistaken belief that because Barbados does not have capacity for mass tourism, it must focus on high-end tourism instead.

Continue reading

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Help Malou win her contest and promote Barbados at the same time

Barbados – Biggest Baddest Bucket List entry by Malou Morgan

The winner travels the world for 6 months to 25 destinations of their choice and blogs, films and photographs everything they experience along the way. This is a huge opportunity to market Barbados globally and I am trying to use this to my advantage.

I have pledged $US 5,000 to the Diabetes Association of Barbados if I win this competition, to raise awareness and support a cause dear to my heart.

I have also reached out to friends who are involved in non-profit organisations & charities around the world, so that I can visit their countries and connect with their cause. If I win, I’ll be featuring their cause, volunteering wherever I’m needed and creating as much hype as possible. I’d like to use this publicity to benefit as many people as possible.

My video on Barbados has received a lot of support so far, but I need to make it to the Top 5 to become a finalist. I’m far from making the top 5 number of votes and I’m therefore asking that you PLEASE share & spread this message to as many people & businesses around the world as possible so that I can make it to the top 5 by March 31st.

Thank you!

Malou

Voting is easy:

1. Visit www.voteformalou.com

2. Scroll down until you see the social media box

3. Vote via the social media buttons. Each social media account is a separate vote!

Vote for Malou’s entry here…

Vote for me

Don’t forget to visit Malou’s blog: Skip to Malou*

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

MZ251 – Turn yourself in to the Royal Barbados Police Force

Motorcycle Dangerous 1 click photo for large

At about 2pm today, Tuesday March 26th, my husband and I were in the car at the busy intersection by Patisserie Flindt and the Limegrove Mall, traffic coming from all 4 directions, when we witnessed these 2 motor cycles popping wheelies while overtaking the line of cars.  Just seconds before this, we witnessed these same 2 bikes plus 2 more and an ATV coming down the hill by St James Secondary School, and the ATV plus 2 of the dirt bikes were popping wheelies as they approached the junction.

With the license number so readily available, why is it that the Police will not do anything?

We live on the main west coast road and we witness these dirt bikes pulling the same stunts up and down the road every day. The stunts are dangerous and the bikes are excessively loud. The main west coast road is lined with nothing but expensive holiday homes on both sides between Holetown and Speightstown. Imagine what the tourists must think of this, or the fear they must have when witnessing such dangerous and disgusting behaviour. Our tourism product already has not got a good name without adding this to the mix.

Barbados Motorcycleclick photos for large Motorcycle Wheelie 2

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

Harlequin Legal Survey – Results to be published here

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors

Lawyer Gareth Fatchett and Regulatory Legal Solicitors are conducting a survey of Harlequin ‘investors’. The results will be published here at Barbados Free Press, and we understand that Mr. Fatchett will be making additional recommendations based on the results.

We encourage readers to head on over and take a look, and then make your own decisions.

After all, we at BFP didn’t invest in Harlequin and I can’t say we know of any Bajans who did. That might have been a flag for foreign investors or a question they might have asked. Too late now to ask “Have any locals invested?”, but next time maybe!

Harlequin Investor Survey

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Filed under Consumer Issues, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Was Derek Crawford beaten by police to make him confess to rape?

Call for police video-recording of confession statements

Cheerful Commissioner Dottin ignores calls for police reform

Cheerful Commissioner Dottin ignores calls for police reform

Derek Crawford was originally charged with the rape of two visitors to Barbados – Rachel Turner and Diane Davies.

When both women said the police had the wrong man the case exploded in the worldwide news with the incompetence and brutality of the Royal Barbados Police Force front and center in the questions.

The Police Commissioner said that Crawford “confessed” to the rapes and particular knowledge of the crimes. Mr. Crawford said he signed the confession after the police suffocated and beat him. He said he would have signed anything, and BFP regular Mark Fenty agreed, saying,

“Of course Crawford confessed to a particular knowledge of the crime, who wouldn’t? How long could one man tolerate a serious beating at the CID?”

BFP reader Mark Fenty on Commissioner Dottin says accused rapist Derick Crawford confessed

We know how it is ’bout hey and we believe Derek Crawford. We believe him well. Clinton Norton and a few others would believe Crawford too, except Norton is dead in strange circumstances and some folks say the police did it. In case you’ve forgotten, somebody tortured Clinton Norton to death. He was found with blood in his lungs and sand in his nostrils and mouth – dead inside a store burglary with no sand on the floor. There’s not many stories about Clinton Norton in the local news media, nothing to see hear and we don’t like to raise that kind of thing – bad for the tourist business.

Meanwhile British Member of Parliament Sephen McPartland just called upon the Foreign Office to warn that Barbados is “not a safe place” for women travelers…

 “I firmly believe that Barbados is not a safe place for British women to travel to as there is a rapist on the loose.

“The police have failed to reopen the case and they have failed to get Rachel justice.

“The Foreign Office should update their travel advice and make it clear that Barbados is not a safe place to travel and warn British tourists to stay away.

“Maybe then, the authorities in Barbados will make the police reopen the case and find this rapist.”

Member of Parliament Sephen McPartland quoted at BBC Barbados rapes: MP warns travellers island is ‘unsafe’

DNA? Modern police methods and investigations?

Why bother with that when you can grab a likely looker – maybe the same general description like the witness says – and then beat the hell out of ‘im til he confess! That’s a good description of police work in Barbados for many Constables. Former RBPF Constable (now a lawyer) Stephen Alleyne wants the police to video confessions from suspects.

Bajans have wanted video confessions for 20 years and more. We know how things are on this rock.

Mr. Alleyne is spitting by de road – makes him feel good but accomplish nothing!

Under Scrutiny: Time to record all confessions

By Stephen Alleyne

As the recent dismissal of two cases against Barbadian national Derek Crawford for the alleged rape of two British women continues to make news in the United Kingdom, this is an opportune time to call on Government to complete the facilities for the video and audio recording of confession statements from accused persons without further delay.

In the Crawford case, the police were seeking to rely on a statement they said was voluntarily made by Crawford in accordance with the Judges’ Rules (a set of rules first issued by the Judges of the King’s Bench Division of the United Kingdom in 1912 and revised from time to time giving guidelines to investigators on the procedure they should follow in the detaining, questioning and recording of confessions from suspects), but the two victims of the crime were adamant Crawford was not the man who raped them, resulting in the prosecution discontinuing the case.

This assertion by the two women therefore raises a number of questions about the statement the police purportedly recorded from Crawford. Did Crawford make the statement in the first place? If he did, was it because of acts of oppression or coercion visited on him that forced him to do so? And if he did because of acts of oppression, was the statement in any event true or did he make them to avoid further oppression? Because of their present method of recording confession statements, the police, in the absence of additional physical and/or scientific evidence, will find it difficult to answer these questions, as demonstrated by the Commissioner’s failed attempt to do so in a media conference.

… continue reading this article at The Barbados Advocate – Time to record all confessions

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Human Rights, Police

The magical world of Barbados government tourism statistics and expenditures

So many questions, so few answers. So little planning…

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

The Barbados Government’s Budget setting out the Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue for the financial year 2013/2014 lists that ‘a subvention of $101.7 million has been provided to the Barbados Tourism Authority to facilitate marketing and promotion’.

At first it seems a simple enough stated intent, but what does it really mean?

‘Marketing and promotion’. What will ultimately be spent on these two critical functions after all other expenses are taken out?

Salaries, per diem allowances, the much vaunted restructuring costs possibly including an allowance for severance, consultancy fees, lease payments on luxury SUV vehicles, recent office moving expenses, outstanding debts, overseas offices, depreciation, interest.

The list goes on and on.

Perhaps even more pertinent, will the whole budgeted amount even actually be available to the organisation? Or will they become cash starved again far before the end of the next financial year – contributing to another near devastating fall in arrival numbers?

Bearing in mind the fragile state of the industry, wouldn’t it also be wise to ensure that the private sector is fully informed of any recovery plans to ensure limited available resources from them is not squandered by duplicating efforts?

I recently saw a prediction that 2013 would end the year ‘flat’ in terms of arrivals, but that would mean a growth rate of more than 6.2 per cent this year alone, just to make up for the loss in 2012. And ‘a rise in tourism figures by the end of March 2014’ was also forecast.

Given that somewhere between 12 and 20 hotels are already up for sale, I seriously wonder how many more can economically hang on until even marginal viability returns. 

During the budget debate the Minister Of Finance anticipated a 0.9 per cent growth in tourism during the financial year ending 31st March 2014. Is that enough to avoid further closures and lay-offs? That is on top of what so far has been a very disappointing peak winter season, compounded by a virtual moratorium on sustained marketing for several months.

Frankly, I have never been a great fan of predictions. I would rather rely on strategies and courses of action which incorporate a high degree of possible success – strategies that actually make things happen.

Also the figures when compared above start to confuse me. Yes of course there is a difference with a datical and fiscal year, but in this case they both possess three of the much higher yield critical winter months; January, February and March.

So a minimum 6.2 per cent increase in long stay visitors ‘to end the year flat’,  but only ‘a 0.9 per cent growth in tourism’ during the financial year ending 2014. That 6.2 per cent would equate to enticing another 33,250 long stay visitors. So the question that should be asked is this: Based on current average stay and spend, would this equate to a 0.9 per cent growth?

Once again, we are left asking so many questions and obtaining so few answers.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Women should boycott Maldives tourism

Maldives Holiday

Why vacation where women are second class and punished for being women?

15 year old incest rape victim sentenced to flogging for sex outside marriage

The Independent: Maldives government moves to halt public flogging of 15-year-old girl raped by stepfather

The photos of the Maldives are always so beautiful – deep blue skies, crystal clear water, calm seas and clean tranquil private resorts – but those tourism adverts hide a seething Islamic fundamentalism that has taken over the government and the island nation’s culture.

Beautiful islands, yes – but hostile to women, westerners and all non-Muslims that they call infidels. Be prepared to vacation in a culture of hate where the government and many in the population conceal their laws and feelings only long enough to grab your tourism dollars.

Pity the women born in The Maldives. Only Muslims are allowed Maldives citizenship – all other religions are barred from being citizens even if born in the Maldives.

Why should women tourists boycott the Maldives?

Girls are still married off at nine and ten years old, young women are often whipped for having sex outside marriage, rioters in the streets broke into the museum and destroyed exhibits of non-Muslim history and culture – smashing thousand year old Buddha statues and burning religious books.

The Maldives: where you will be jailed if they find you with a bible or an icon of Mary on your computer.

The Maldives: where couples are offered marriage renewal ceremonies on the beach with the Muslim Imam saying the ceremony in the local language. Couples smile at each other – not knowing that the Imam is calling them swine and infidels and saying worms will come from the husband’s penis because he is not Muslim. The resort staff nods and smiles to complete the marriage renewal farce. What an indication of the inner feelings for western tourists!

Hey… nice people those Maldives Islamist crazies!

As a woman, choosing between Maldives or Barbados for next year’s winter holiday, there really doesn’t seem to be much thought needed, does there?

How about a Maldives Wedding?

If you’re still not put off by the state of the world in The Maldives, how about planning to get married or renewing your vows there? You too can have a wonderful ceremony…  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Human Rights, Religion

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves: How many travel writers will you jail?

Kenton Chance Wikileak

St. Vincent’s racist Prime Minister is on the record very upset that two BBC journalists ‘snuck’ into the country by telling Immigration authorities they were visiting as tourists when they were really working on a story about Harlequin and Dave Ames. Had the BBC journalists been filming a feel-good travel or investment article, Gonsalves wouldn’t have had a problem with them.

Too bad the BBC story was about how Harlequin collected hundreds of millions of pounds from British pensioners but only built a handful of promised holiday homes before running out of money.

Gonsalves threatened that Panorama tele-journalists Paul Kenyon and Mathew Hill committed crimes punishable by imprisonment.

No word on what PM Gonsalves thinks about Harlequin’s Ponzi scheme, but he is sure upset at the reporters for mentioning it!

How dare dem bloody reporters come snooping around and then expose the story of how SVG  and its politicians let a twice-bankrupt double glazing salesman get away with using the country to promote a pyramid scheme!

One problem though: does Prime Minister Gonsalves intend to apply the same rules to every travel journalist who comes to SVG as a tourist and then writes nice things about the island? Or is Gonsalves only concerned about the law when investigative journalists expose the truth?

If Prime Minister Gonsalves wants to put some journalists in jail he should start with every travel and finance writer who took a free trip from Harlequin and declared they were on holiday when they arrived in SVG. They are the ones who printed the flowery stories that set the trap for thousands of trusting Britons to lose their pensions. If any journalists deserve jail, it is that bunch.

Of course, it’s a good thing that the BBC journalists are of the white race because Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is probably going soft on them. You see, Ralph Gonsalves is a racist who dislikes mulattos and brown people – and said so.

Further Reading

I-Witness News Citing possible jail time, BBC reporters staying away from SVG

Cartoon: SVG journalist Kenton X. Chance with PM Gonsalves. See BFP’s More WikiLeaks hit the fan!

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Filed under Culture & Race Issues, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Race

Travel + Leisure Magazine does undeserved hack job on Barbados

Travel Leisure Magazine

by Happy Visitor

You have to wonder about the reasoning behind the Travel + Leisure magazine article about the 2013 World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.

The WEF rated Barbados at a very respectable 27 out of 140 countries rated and near the very top in a number of categories: Sanitary (1), Hospital beds per population (12), Regulatory framework (13), Prioritization of Travel & Tourism (8), Ground transport infrastructure (9), Affinity for Travel & Tourism (2), Education quality (7) and so on.

But what does Travel + Leisure magazine focus upon? We did poorly for Natural Resources (133). That’s no surprise given our population density, lack of natural resources, water shortage and frankly, successive governments and a population that don’t seem bothered by trash or paving over natural habitats. Yes, we could use some big improvements in that sector, but with all we have to offer and how well we did overall, it is unfair for the magazine to mention one of our few faults without commenting on our overall standing or successes featured in the WEF’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.

Further Reading

2013 World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (PDF 6mb)

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment

Margaret Parsons tells her side of the Ralph Gonsalves sex assault story

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Filed under Crime & Law

Tour-operator driven business model killing Barbados tourism industry

peach-and-quiet-barbados-hotel.jpg

“So many of our hoteliers are contemplating simply throwing in the towel”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Like many other people involved in the tourism sector, I have wondered for a very long time exactly how financial data is collected and used to shape national tourism policy.

As part of the arduous lead up to prepare all the required paperwork for the eventual sale of our small hotel, we have to obtain many official documents. This includes a Certificate of Good Standing from the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office to state they have in their possession our last twenty something years of certified accounts.

Don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely no objection to them having every intimate detail of our financial trading over the previous two decades. But I just wonder: Is any part of the information we voluntarily supply passed on to Ministries, including tourism, or other institutions like the Central Bank, so that it can be used in defining policy making?

Without reasonable profits, hotels cannot maintain the quality of their tourism product

What prompted these thoughts was looking through a real estate description of one of the many hotels that are on the market for sale and trying to fully understand all of the reasons why such a large percentage of our accommodation providers desperately need to be upgraded.

The hotel in question has 150 rooms located on a 525 feet wide prime beachfront site and spread over about 5 acres on the south coast. According to the agent, the hotel has ‘generated significant annual gross revenue averaging more than BDS$10 million over the last four years’.

At first, it looks an attractive acquisition prospect, but then consider this…

If the BDS$10 million quoted is annual turnover, then with an average occupancy level of 65 per cent across the year, which is considerably higher than the ‘norm’ on Barbados, that would only equate to BDS$281, or US$140 per room per occupied night. Clearly, it cannot be overly profitable or the agent would not qualify the offering with ‘it is being offered well below replacement cost’.

Has the over reliance on tour operator generated business and prolonged periods of discounting eroded margins to the point where so many of our hoteliers are contemplating simply throwing in the towel?

When conducting a comparison with our own small Peach & Quiet Hotel property, we averaged BDS$454, or US$227 per occupied room night in the last financial year ended – mostly due to the fact that almost 100 per cent of our business is booked directly at rack rate.

Last week, UK travel giant, Thomas Cook announced it was closing another 195 high street stores, shedding more than 2,500 jobs. The British trade body, ABTA, estimate over 1,400 agencies have closed their doors during the last ten years and that’s in the United Kingdom alone.

People are booking for themselves using the internet

A recent TripAdvisor survey polled across 35,000 people, conducted between December 2012 and January 2013, concluded that only 7 per cent of holidaymakers went into a travel agency to actually book their last holiday.  27 per cent booked via web-based travel agencies and 23 per cent direct with the accommodation’s own website. What does the remaining 47 per cent do?

So clearly the distribution of our product and way it is booked has dramatically changed, yet ‘we’ as a destination appear to be doing things in the same old way.

Is it time that we look very carefully at how, as a destination, ‘our’ business is both generated and delivered – to see not only the best way we can claw back the arrival numbers, but also maximise the revenue earned?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Barbados Finance Minister says taxpayers’ money to be recovered on Four Seasons sale. Do you believe him?

Barbados Investment Four Seasons

We don’t believe Chris Sinckler… Do You?

Chris Sinckler says that the Government of Barbados is about to sell the disastrous Four Seasons project and that Bajan taxpayers “should be walking away from it with all of its monies intact.”

I’ll believe that when I see the books and the reports that you know we’ll never see. Bajan politicians and governments don’t allow public accountability when it comes to massive losses resulting from government foolishness.

I don’t believe Minister Sinckler. There have to be losses to taxpayers. This fiasco has been going on too long and there’s too much public money into it… We just don’t know how much of our public money is into the Four Seasons because the government doesn’t allow us to know. Former Prime Minister David Thompson said that the Four Seasons project was “extremely risky”. Now his old political friends are saying it’s no problem.

Why is the truth and transparency so difficult to find on this island?

That’s easy: because the political elites like it that way so they won’t pass Integrity Legislation or Freedom of Information.

Do you believe Christ Sinckler?

Further Reading

Nation News Seasons switch

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Shanique Myrie inquiry – Barbados environmental officer part of Immigration scam?

Barbados_Immigration_illegal

Questions about Barbados Environmental Officer Daniel Forde

by One Who Knows

The story is still developing but from the reports in the local news, questions are being asked about the role of Daniel Forde “a senior government environmental officer” in the Shanique Myrie fiasco.

Jamaican Myrie was denied entry into Barbados and held in Immigration custody. She has alleged mistreatment by Bajan authorities, including being “finger raped” during a search for drugs.

Bajan Pamela Clarke testified that neighbour Daniel Forde asked her to be available when his friend Myrie arrived from Jamaica in case Mryrie couldn’t get hold of Forde. But while Clarke agreed to this she did not know that Myrie was providing her name and address as the person who invited her to Barbados and where she would be staying.

Myrie lied to Immigration officers, saying that she had been talking to Pamela Clarke on the internet for two months. That was not true as they had never spoken or emailed.

Barbados drug search

Although Bajan government official Daniel Forde had something to do with Shanique Myrie traveling to Barbados, it seems Forde and Myrie did not want the Immigration officials to know that.

Why Not?

Testimony says that Myrie lied to Immigration Officials about her relationship with Pamela Clarke, and so far it testimony says that Myrie didn’t offer Forde’s name as her real host.

So Myrie was not truthful with Immigration and Forde was in on that plan to not be truthful. That is what it looks like so far.

Why weren’t Forde and Myrie straight with Immigration officials? Is this about human trafficking and Forde, a Barbados government official, is involved? Is this about Myrie is his little squeeze on the side that Forde didn’t want someone else to know about? Or is it something altogether innocent, mistakes made because somebody assumed something and said the wrong thing?

There’s more questions than answers right now, but if it shapes up that Forde was part of some plan to not tell the truth to Immigration, then Bajans should be asking themselves if Forde should keep that nice cushy government job of his.

The inquiry continues…

BFP’s readers can head over to Barbados Today as that news source has published many articles about Shanique Myrie. Check out Never knew Myrie.

We’re going to reprint the whole article here because you know how it is folks – if we don’t sure enough the original article will change or disappear a common happening with the Bajan news media. Readers should first head over to Barbados Today as they deserve your click please.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Jamaica

US State Department: Barbados politicians ask for bribes and business equity in exchange for favours

US State Department Barbados

The US State Department just published its annual Investment Climate Statement for Barbados. There is some wishful thinking in the report, but also some solid reasons why Bim is a good place for offshore investment. As far as the politicians asking foreign businesses for bribes or shares… That’s news?

You can read the whole thing yourself, but here’s our take on a few interesting spots in the report – the good, the bad and the ugly…

Barbados – The Good

Openness To Foreign Investment

The Government of Barbados, through Invest Barbados, strongly encourages foreign direct investment in Barbados.

The government offers special incentive packages for foreign investments in the hotel industry, manufacturing, and offshore business services.

Foreign nationals receive the same legal protections as local citizens. The police and court systems are unbiased in commercial matters, and the government operates in an essentially transparent manner.

The Bad

On December 20, 2012, Moody’s downgraded Barbados’s rating to one notch below investment grade. Moody’s also gave Barbados a negative outlook, meaning that a further downgrade is more likely than an upgrade. With this downgrade, Moody’s rating is in sync with Standard & Poor’s, which downgraded Barbados in July. Fitch Ratings does not rate Barbados. Moody’s cited two main reasons for this downgrade: poor economic growth prospects and government deficit/debt levels. These are generally the same two reasons Standard & Poor’s cited in July.

The regulatory system can be slow at times, and some companies have complained that the Ministry of Finance does not give adequate justification for rejecting a license.

According to the U.N. World Investment Report, Barbados Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) peaked at $464 million in 2008. This was followed by a decrease to $247 million in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 FDI totaled $290 million and $334 million respectively.

The Real Ugly Stuff

Corruption is not a major problem in Barbados, but some U.S. companies have reported unfair treatment by Barbados’ Customs and Excise Department.

Other U.S. companies have reported efforts by political actors to trade political support for payment or partial project ownership.

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Economy

Hope for some Harlequin victims? Investment victims’ lawyer going after Harlequin agents who misled about protection of funds

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

Harlequin & David Ames: Knew sales agents were lying to investors.

“After learning that some of his agents were misleading investors, did Ames and Harlequin take steps to alert investors? Now there is a question.”

Some agents and financial advisers selling Harlequin Property pre-March 2009 were telling clients that their investments were protected in a solicitor’s client account. This according to the UK law office representing a group of disgruntled Harlequin investors.

Gareth Fatchett... Pit Bull, lawyer or both?

Gareth Fatchett… Pit Bull, lawyer or both?

Talking to Barbados Free Press, Gareth Fatchett of Regulatory Legal Solicitors explained “It is clear that Harlequin identified instances where agents were telling people that a solicitors client account was being used to protect their monies.“

Mr. Fatchett also provided a clue that his law office intends to go after agents who lied to prospective investors, saying, “Many agents think that by using a limited company they can absolve themselves personally of any liability for a statement made either fraudulently or recklessly. It is clear that some agents / financial advisers made statements which were plainly untrue.  English law makes provision for limited liability protection to be removed when grossly reckless statements are made.”

Regulatory Legal Solicitors are reviewing advice files for investors who are concerned that they have been misled by agents. Mr. Fatchett is also looking closely at advice given by advisers, financial advisers and pension advisers.

Dave Ames and Harlequin knew agents were misleading prospective investors!

In a March 24, 2009 “Policy Statement”  from Harlequin to agents, Dave Ames told his agents to stop the practice, saying “I am aware that some agents have been suggesting to investors that we do ring fence the payments and this has to stop immediately to avoid investors being misled.” and “It is also not true to say that investors’ money is held in a solicitor’s client account.” (PDF of Ames’ statement here)

While it is shocking is that Harlequin’s Dave Ames was apparently aware that some of his agents were misleading investors, the natural question is: What did Ames do after learning of the lies? After learning that some of his agents were misleading investors, did Ames and Harlequin take steps to alert investors? Now there is a question!

No reply from Harlequin or Dave Ames    Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking