Monthly Archives: May 2013

Smart partnerships needed in tough times

Barbados money tenner

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Short of a miracle and/or a radical change in the way we do business, it appears we have headed into one of the most challenging tourism summers in recent history – hot on the heels of a poor winter.

With still no game changing strategies, other than one or two tinkering offerings on the horizon, is there more ‘we’ can do to avoid further widespread lay-offs and closures?

The answer has to be YES! And I think we can start by looking at further opportunities on our doorstep.

For ages, I have admired the work of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons. My wife and I have been lifetime members for a number of years and I cannot even begin to think of the savings it has brought us during that period, far outweighing any annual subscription fees.

For a number of reasons  I only purchased my first public company shares just over half a decade ago on the recommendation of our accountants. If we are lucky, our small capital investment will return to the level that we initially put into fund by the end of 2013. Ironically, in their latest quarterly report, the fund managers reminded us that during the last five years, cumulative inflation on Barbados reached 38 per cent and that any investment placed with them  ‘should outperform money left in a savings account over the long term’. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues

A little bit of history: The Barbados Water Supply Company, Limited

barbados water supply (click photo for large)

October 1, 1891 Debenture

You know how it is… you’re just surfing the net going from one thing to another and suddenly you’re into an area of interest you’ve never seen before. In this case it’s a debenture from 1891 for The Barbados Water Supply Company, Limited and it’s for sale for US$139.95 at Scripophily.com.

Then from there I ended up in the UK government archives, again in 1891, reading about how the Barbados Water Supply Company needed more time to finish laying water supply pipes. (A cynic might say the job still isn’t finished!)

“1 item (enclosure with report by Acting Attorney General W Herbert Greaves, 7 November 1891) extracted from CO 28/231. ‘Barbados. Parsons small scale map’: showing water pipes laid and stand pipes erected. Reference note. Compass indicator. Signed: P N S Jones, Resident Engineer, 2 November 1891. The report concerned an act extending the time granted to the Barbados Water Supply Company, Ltd, to complete their works.”

There’s all sorts of Barbados documents in the UK archives and I could spend hours exploring, but I’ll leave that for Sunday.

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Filed under History

Newfoundland Canada tourist: Bajan old people are what I like about Barbados

by Ivan Emke, Newfoundland Canada

by Ivan Emke, Newfoundland Canada

If you asked me what I like most about Barbados, you might expect me to talk about the beaches, or the lush vegetation, or the hospitable culture, or the serious interest in cricket (the sport, not the insect, though I find the latter far more interesting to watch). Or maybe you’d think I’d refer to the ready access to local rum products at discount prices.  But none of those are my favourite thing about Barbados.  No, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

My favourite Bajan (Barbadian) sight is old people on buses.

OK, that might take a bit of explaining. I’ve been riding buses here a fair bit. For a buck (Canadian) you can go from one tip of the country to the other.

Nothing brings a smile to my face as assuredly as being on the bus and having some old people to watch. When they get on, they are always slow. Each step up a victory. The first step is the hello to the driver. One more step and they look around the bus and laugh and greet others they know. The third step and they lean on the collection box and laugh about their infirmities. They get out their wallet and ever so carefully insert their fare. Then they sit down, with drama and flare. Of course, the bus will not leave until all are seated.

Nothing brings a smile to my face as assuredly as being on the bus and having some old people to watch. When they get on, they are always slow. Each step up a victory. The first step is the hello to the driver. One more step and they look around the bus and laugh and greet others they know. The third step and they lean on the collection box and laugh about their infirmities. They get out their wallet and ever so carefully insert their fare. Then they sit down, with drama and flare. Of course, the bus will not leave until all are seated…

… continue to read this article at the Western Star: Old people on buses

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

The shame of once-proud Barbados race-horses: lingering death, starvation, neglect

Barbados Race Horses click photo for large

Shameful!

by Wayne Norville

by Wayne Norville

These are some of the horses I had to put to sleep. These horses once graced the Garrison Savannah. Their owners can’t feed them any more so they give them to anyone who would take them.

THIS IS HOW THEY SPEND THE REMAINDER OF THEIR LIVES.

Say something about this disgrace.

Wayne Norville

Wayne Norville Facebook

Forgotten Race Horses

by Annemarie Green Harris

Shameful photos on Facebook

Barbados Race Horse Abuse 4

 

 

 

 

Barbados Race Horse Abuse 3. Barbados Race Horse Abuse 2. Barbados Race Horse Abuse 1

 

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Filed under Barbados, Ethics

DNA Paternity Tests should be standard in Barbados

DNA-test-Barbados

by Sherwin King

I am responding to statements made by the Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and others in the nation newspaper dated Wednesday the 24th of April 2013 on page 6A, which was headline “AG knocks DNA call”.

The attorney general being a man in appearance is noted in the matter here as being ashamed of a call by a character to have a DNA test done on every child born in Barbados, which appears to be supported by other legal minds.

What are you really saying to men in this country AG?  Can women do no wrong in your sight? As an attorney at law for so long and now a QC also, have you not come across or heard about cases or matters in this country where a man was force to give child support to a woman who swear that the child is his, only to find out or be told by the same woman when the child is old enough, that the child belongs to another man? Do you have any idea how that man would feel now, being use by her in this way? Would the same force that force the man to pay her child support all these years now come to his aid and force the woman to pay him back every cent in support that he was force to give her because of the lies she stated? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados

Chrissy: Made in Barbados family film

The trailer is too dramatic but I liked the film very much. Excellent production values, good story, good acting.

Robert

From a publicity email sent to BFP…

This movie played to sold out audiences in Barbados and Premiered in Jamaica to a standing ovation. American Author Eric Jerome Dickey says “I Enjoyed Chrissy! from the beginning to the End.” The High Commissioner of Barbados to Canada Mr. Evelyn Greaves says “This movie is highly recommended for the entire family, educators and organizations.” The movie has played in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, London and Birmingham and is currently playing in Antigua. Chrissy is an inspirational movie for the entire family and stars 10 year old Makalah Harrison and Cara O’Donnell, Sophia Thomas lead actor of the HUSH series and Barbados’ own Mac Fingal and Peter Boyce. Shot entirely on location in Barbados, Chrissy will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions as you move from scene to scene with the children. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture & Race Issues

Afra Raymond charts the losses from large-scale, improper use of Public Money

acquisition-options-hdc-chart-2-20130405 click chart for full size

“Eden Gardens could have been lawfully acquired for $35million, but HDC paid $175million for it in November 2012”

“Objectively, it does not matter whether the money is wasted or stolen, if it is ultimately unavailable for the benefit of the Public.”

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

The last four articles in this series have focused on what I call ‘two sides of the same coin’ – the coin being the large-scale and improper use of Public Money.

I examined the THA/BOLT office project called MILSHIRV being undertaken with the Rahael group and the Calcutta Settlement land scheme in which the HDC acquired developed lands at several times the proper price the State could have paid.

Throughout this type of critique one has to strive for effective balance and fundamental integrity.  The extent of the waste and/or theft is never easy to pinpoint when one is working from outside and relying solely on published documents, but my best efforts to establish those facts is what is presented.  Of course it is impossible to say for sure that any amount of money was stolen in a particular project, hence the phrase ‘wasted or stolen’.

Objectively, it does not matter whether the money is wasted or stolen, if it is ultimately unavailable for the benefit of the Public.  Once spent, that Public Money is gone forever, which is why Value for Money is of such importance in any proper Public Procurement system. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

More to the Jack Warner scandal than in the CONCACAF Integrity Report

sir-david-simmons-barbados.jpg

Contributed by Heavy Duty

Making the rounds, in case you have not seen it yet, is the Integrity Committee Report of Investigation as presented to the Executive Committee of CONCACAF – The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.

Barbados’ former Chief Justice was the Chairman of the Committee. (photo above) Yes, Sir David Anthony Cathcart Simmons himself was in charge of an inquiry into integrity issues. I’ll leave that fact without further observation and get to the meat of what I want to say:

Having perused the report very, very briefly I have the following comments:

1)      The conclusions of the Committee are based on “a balance of probabilities”. Yet the authors say that in determining the facts “it applied various legal standards…”. The obvious question is what legal standards? In criminal law the standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt!
2)      Although Jack tells the Committee bluntly to go jump in the lake, he ain’t co-operatin’, Blazer’s lawyers tell the Committee that Blazer has issues with FIFA and that Blazer is not prepared only to discuss the issues that FIFA wants, but he wants to discuss everything. The Committee ignores this and says that Blazer and Warner wouldn’t co-operate at all! This is not quite true.
3)      The Committee appears to have reached its conclusions on the basis of unsworn statements and documents which were not introduced to the Committee via sworn statements. In other words, the conclusions of the Committee are not necessarily based on justiciable evidence.
4)      The Committee does not refer at all to what I call the Havelange correspondence where Jack says that he got the Centre of Excellence as a gift. The obvious conclusions from this are (a) FIFA hid the correspondence from the Committee; or (b) The Committee saw it but suppressed it; or
(c)  The Committee saw it but did not understand it. In other words, the Committee is incompetent.

Choose any one or more of the above and you realise that problems arise with the whole report.

I raise these points not by way of defence for Jack, but because it is absolutely clear to me that there is a lot more … a whole lot more … to this story than we are being told. One thing is clear: this ain’t over by a loooonnnngggggg shot!! I predict that the Simmons Committee will end up with quite a lot of mud not only being thrown at it but also sticking to it!!

Life in the Tropics!!!

Download the Committee’s Report here in PDF: Concacaf Report

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Filed under Barbados, Sports

Cameco tax mess complicated by Barbados offshore companies?

Canada Revenue Agency Barbados

Back in early May, BFP told our readers how a Canadian company avoided 1.4 billion in taxes by using an offshore subsidiary. We speculated what it means for Barbados as the Canadian tax authorities attempt to track down and close the tax loopholes that, frankly, are the life blood of our offshore banking and financial industries. (See Cameco tax case is scary for Barbados!)

In the Cameco case profits were diverted to a Swiss based subsidiary that paid a far lower tax rate than the Canadian operations of the uranium producing company.

Now one of our sharp-eyed BFP readers has come up with five Barbados offshore companies that look like they could have something to do with the Canadian Cameco company involved in the international tax mess. Some of the Directors appear throughout the companies and we wonder what it all means. According to some of the news accounts, Cameco shareholders are facing some hefty losses depending on the outcome in the Canadian courts.

We will continue to follow this case as it is a canary in the coal mine for the health of our offshore banking and companies revenues.

The Barbados offshore companies are:

CAMECO GLOBAL SOUTH AMERICA INC.

CAMECO INSURANCE SERVICES INC

CAMECO RESOURCES, L.L.C.

CAMECO SERVICES INC.

CAMECO URANIUM INC.

Here are the names of the Company Directors and Officers. Hmmmmm…. I recognize a few names!  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking

Tourism statistics: Antigua UP, Barbados DOWN – Why?

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Recently published online by Caribbean News Now, hotelier Rob Barrett, the CEO and operator of three hotels on Antigua, (St. James Club, Galley Bay and Verandah Resort and Spa) announced some very encouraging news…

‘The first quarter of 2013, January through March, has been the best quarter in terms of financial results I have experienced since coming to Antigua over 20 years ago, despite lingering and significant global economic challenges in both North America and the UK’.

Attributing some of the growth to, in his words, ‘I believe some of the recent strength is the result of positive changes happening on island which affect visitors’ perceptions from their welcome with improved customs and immigration processing to the more efficient taxi operations. These together provide an overall better arrival experience for visitors’.

Mr. Barrett also commented on ‘more positive Government cooperation as the tourism ministry seems more proactive in so many facets that bring heightened awareness to our island and people’.  Adding “we support the ministry’s efforts to deliver a new, more user friendly website and to work more closely with the private sector’ and ‘Antigua’s Government and Ministry of Tourism seems more progressive and accessible’

Are there any lessons that ‘we’ as a destination (Barbados) can learn from this? 

It would appear so. Antigua recorded an increase of 2.3 per cent in long stay visitors last year, compared with our decline of 5.5 per cent. A more than 7 per cent differential. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

In Memoriam – Marcus (James)

barbados-dove-funeral

One of BFP’s founders passes

Dear Friends,

We have lost Marcus – one of our original four founders and BFP’s editor-in-chief.

Although his passing was not unexpected, it was in some ways more difficult for family and friends during these last five months than had he been taken suddenly. Marcus said it was a blessing that he knew and had time to prepare. Given his choices, I could not argue with him.

“When you know your time is coming, you find joy in the smallest things that you once took for granted.”

That’s what Marcus said and he remained his usual smiling self right to the end. His attitude and joy in life remains an inspiration to all who knew him.

Some of our regular readers started asking if things were alright three or four months ago as they noticed changes in BFP’s postings and lapses in the usual daily online banter as Marcus became less and less able. He was the glue that held BFP together and it showed when he was increasingly absent.

Those of us who remain will take a some time to reinvigorate Barbados Free Press and to get back to our roots as a voice for social and political change in Bim. We pledge to continue the fight to stop our so-called Bajan “leaders” who sell off our children’s futures while lining their own pockets and filling their foreign bank accounts.

The mourning time is over, and with help from the good Lord and our readers we’re getting back to work.

Cliverton

43 Comments

Filed under Barbados

Canadian Parliamentary report targets Barbados and other offshore banking and corporate centres

barbados-flag.jpg

I have a question for our glorious leaders of the DLP and BLP…

Tourism is dying and our offshore banking sector is under serious attack. What is this island going to be doing to earn foreign revenues in 10 years time? Folks like Dr. Duguid and Owen Arthur won’t care because they are rich enough to bail out, but what will our children do to earn a living?

“Canadian banks and other financial institutions should be required to find out the beneficial owners of corporations or trusts that are transferring money overseas, according to recommendations in a new report on tax evasion by Parliament’s finance committee.

The all-party finance committee reported Wednesday on the results of a lengthy review of tax havens, but the study immediately drew criticism from NDP and Liberal members who said its 11 recommendations are too vague and will do little to halt the tide of money flowing into offshore tax havens.”

… from the Globe and Mail article: Banks urged to find out who is sending money abroad

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Filed under Barbados, Canada, Offshore Investments

Cameco tax case is scary for Barbados!

Canada Revenue Agency Barbados

How a Canadian company avoided 1.4 billion in taxes by using an offshore subsidiary and what it means for Barbados

by Not Taken

Yet another interesting and scary for Barbados article in the business section of a major Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail: Cameco’s $800-million tax battle

I have been sending these recent articles as a public service so the Ministry of Finance and the Barbados Central Bank Governor have a heads up on the attack on Canadian tax evaders/avoiders that is undoubtedly about to hit the Barbados offshore industry; if in fact it has not already hit – but unreported.

This is very bad news for Barbados revenue sources.

While the Cameco case involves its Swiss subsidiary, it is probably just the tip of the iceberg in CRA’s efforts to collect taxes due to Canada. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of  “Canadaco (Barbados) Limited” businesses doing the same same transfer pricing schemes (scams) in order to pay 2% income tax to Barbados, rather than 27% to Canada.

Even those Canadian companies not not already being audited for this this type of tax “management” may decide for close up shop in Barbados to avoid the publicity that a CRA audit will bring.

Cameco’s CFO, retorts that Cameco Europe has its own board of directors and a full-time CEO, Gerhard Glattes, who has no other duties with the company. Cameco Europe provides Cameco with compensation for the management duties – like legal advice – it does not have its own staff for. “It was established in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations when it was set up.”

The Barbados registered Canadaco subsidiaries’ own boards of directors and full-time CEOs who have no other duties with the Canadian company should start planning for alternative sources of income. And of course it will have serious implications for the Barbados services providers; the legal community,  the management/bookkeeping companies, and the accountants when it happens.

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Canada, Economy, Offshore Investments

A look at some of the competition: The Seychelles Islands limit their tourist visits per year

Nice place, The Seychelles Islands. They were hit badly last January by tropical cyclone Felleng that destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses, but according to press reports are well on their way to full recovery and so are their tourism arrivals. Their client markets in Europe are the same as ours, with the addition of France that is not a large market for Barbados tourism.

The Seychelles limit the number of tourists per year to 150,000, and only allow so many tourist beds per island so the country can retain its environment and social feel. It also avoids price wars between hotels and keeps tourism a viable business without the social destruction caused by walling off the coasts with hotels all struggling to stay alive in a market where the lowest price and least profit “wins” – if you call that winning.

A pity some of our Bajan leaders were not of the same mind decades ago.

“Under the 1990-94 development plan, which emphasizes that the growth of tourism should not be at the expense of the environment, the number of beds on the islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue is to be limited to 4,000. Increases in total capacity are to be achieved by developing the outer islands. To avoid future threat to the natural attractions of the islands, 150,000 tourists per year are regarded as the ultimate ceiling. The higher cost of accommodations and travel, deficiencies in services and maintenance of facilities, and a limited range of diversions handicap Seychelles in attracting vacationers at the expense of other Indian Ocean tourist destinations”

Wikipedia’s entry for Tourism in Seychelles

“In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a serious industry, basically dividing the economy into plantations and tourism. The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could only expand so far. The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and tourism became the primary industry of Seychelles.”

… Wikipedia’s entry for The Seychelles

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

A symbol of our troubles: Tattered Barbados flag waves over stalled Four Seasons

Barbados Tattered Flag

Welcome to the Four Seasons, Barbados

The symbolism in the photo is stark: clouds obscure the Caribbean sun as weeds grow around a faded and ripped Bajan flag at yet another failed mega-project. A piece of garbage on a dead lawn provides the finishing touch.

Greed and politicians did this – mostly men who thought they were experts in leadership and running a country because they made speeches and got theyselves elected. The results of their decisions stand rotting in the sun all over the island: half built condos, closed hotels and crumbling steps. I’ve lost count of the sludge-filled swamps that used to be swimming pools surrounded by a hundred happy tourists baking and drinking Bajan rum.

It’s all over now and we did it to ourselves.

If we keep on blaming ‘the economy’ and 9/11 and Cuba we are headed only one way and that is down.

This is where we are now. Our best coasts and beaches are walled off or defended by thousands of motorcars. Our roadsides are tipping spots, while sullen shop clerks ‘greet’ visitors with about as much respect as you’d give a rat in your rubbish bin.

This is where our leaders have brought us, and when their time is up they head for Canada or Switzerland or Florida.

That’s where we are. The question is; what do we do now?

2013 Almond Barbados

Four Seasons flag photo courtesy of The Nation: Flag shame at Four Seasons

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

E-readers a great idea for Bajan schools, but money isn’t the only problem

Barbados School Textbooks

Dear BFP,

There is a move afoot to equip all secondary school students with E-readers. This is a great idea because this technology actually cuts costs over the long run when compared with physical textbooks and provides the latest learning materials.

That’s the upside. The downside is that E-Readers are more fragile than textbooks, and are more likely to be stolen. We’re not even talking about the problems with procuring and supporting the technology.

I can’t think of one educational procurement programme that has actually turned out well with the current administration and I don’t see why we should have faith that this one will be any better. I hope we have some rules in place before we spend millions on these devices with no controls about bidding and conflicts of interest etc.

(name withheld upon request)

E-readers for all

A move is now on to provide all 23,000-plus secondary school children in Barbados with e-readers.

The initiative, which is being led by the heads of the island’s 22 secondary schools, is designed to eliminate the headaches of issuing each child with nearly two dozen textbooks annually, and eliminate the tens of thousands each institution spends of book replenishment each year.

One of the education administrators who expressed delight at the progress made on the project so far noted they were aiming to have the e-readers in students hands not later than September 2014, “but sooner than that if all goes according to plan.”

One principal explained that while the evolving of the Textbook Revolving Loan Scheme into an e-reader based programme started with principals who clearly understood the benefits such a shift would bring, they all recognised that before it becomes a reality the Ministry of Education would have to be brought on board as a major player.

In the meanwhile though, the principals explained that given the continued dramatic fall in the prices of e-readers versus the escalating cost of traditional textbook, the change would significantly enhance the mechanism for supplying students with reading material…

…continue reading this article at Barbados Today

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Filed under Barbados, Education, Technology

Should Barbados allow the Monsanto seed monopoly? Can we stop it even if we want to?

Monsanto Seeds

“Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not “creating” or “inventing” a plant. These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.”

… from the Global Research article The Seeds Of Suicide: How Monsanto Destroys Farming

“Monsanto works with farmers from around the world to make agriculture more productive and sustainable. Our technologies enable farmers to get more from every acre of farmland.

Specifically, we are working to double yields in our core crops by 2030. These yield gains will come from a combination of advanced plant breeding, biotechnology, and improved farm-management practices.”

… from the Monsanto website Our Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture

“In the nearly 20 years of applied use of G.E. in agriculture there have been two notable ‘successes,’ along with a few less notable ones. These are crops resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (Monsanto develops both the seeds and the herbicide to which they’re resistant) and crops that contain their own insecticide. The first have already failed, as so-called superweeds have developed resistance to Roundup, and the second are showing signs of failing, as insects are able to develop resistance to the inserted Bt toxin — originally a bacterial toxin — faster than new crop variations can be generated.”

… from the NYT as quoted in Prison Planet’s Even the NY Times is now rejecting Monsanto GMO science

BFP thanks Green Monkey for suggesting this article

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Filed under Agriculture, Barbados