Monthly Archives: August 2013

LIAT senior management’s “unbelievable arrogance, gross disrespect for customers”

robert maclellan Tourism

“Across much of the world, airline passenger numbers are rising strongly but at LIAT they have dropped.”

Tourism expert Robert MacLellan sounds off on LIAT’s crisis

On 28 August LIAT’s CEO, Ian Brunton, talked to Caribbean media and finally acknowledged in public some of the real facts behind the airline’s chaotic operations over the last three months. He also described LIAT’s worrying current financial position, in the same month that the airline has taken on a US$65 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund new aircraft.

However, it was reported that Mr Brunton has refused to have an investigation to hold people accountable for the recent chaos at LIAT. Instead, he said he will organise a “post mortem” (an unfortunate phrase) on what went wrong and use this to reward staff who have performed well during the crisis. Those who “dropped the ball” would be identified for “counseling or better training”.

This statement represents an unbelievable level of arrogance on the part of LIAT senior management and conveys gross disrespect for its customers! Ignore the widespread calls across the Eastern Caribbean for senior management resignations or dismissals at the airline. Instead, LIAT institutes some counseling and better training – presumably, for middle level and operative staff only? No personal responsibility accepted or culpability acknowledged on the part of LIAT’s Chairman, the CEO or the Director of Commercial and Customer Experience – all of whom have presided over three months of disastrous operations across the Eastern Caribbean and an equally disastrous public relations / communications exercise. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Barbados Government asked Facebook for private user information

Owen Arthur Facebook

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the internet, word comes that our own DLP – Democratic Labour Party Government is spying on Facebook users.

Are YOU one of the three accounts that interested Prime Minister Stuart’s government in the past six months? Are you sure you’re not?

Barbados govt asks Facebook for info on users’ data

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Barbados is the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to have made a request of the social website, Facebook, for information regarding how its nationals use the facility.

Facebook has for the first time published data on how often governments around the world request data on its users, and according to the social media group, Barbados made three quests in the last six months.

Facebook does not specify the nature or type request but said it set “a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users”.

There has been no official comment from Bridgetown but Facebook has outlined the conditions under which requests are accepted from governments.

Read the full article at Jamaica Observer: Barbados govt asks Facebook for info on users’ data

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Human Rights

Adrian Loveridge: Tourist VAT rate reduction an excellent move… but what about LIAT’s poor management?

Credit where credit is due.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

I commend the Government for lowering the rate of VAT on ‘hotel accommodation’ and especially extending the same 7.5 per cent to the Direct Tourism Services.  This should relate to meaningful savings for our visitors and even, to a lesser degree, help encourage domestic tourism.

From the various social media sites it is already clear that regular repeat guests will be watching very carefully that all tourism partners benefiting from the reduced tax level will pass it on.

Restaurant dining, car rental, reduced attraction entrance fees, activities like catamaran cruises etc., will all be more affordable and hopefully the overall spend will not fall significantly across the board. The critical element now is to get this improved value for money into the market places, by every means possible.

Linking particular months with events, especially in the longer leaner periods, at first makes logical sense – but I think this concept has to be constantly analysed, to ensure any national ‘investment’ is proven to be cost effective.

This year with Crop Over is a classic example. Despite all the predictions and post event accolades, July 2013 recorded the lowest number of long stay visitor arrivals across the last 11 years in any same month.

Last week I touched on our tourism performance in September 2012, so today I wanted to cover land based arrivals for the same year in October and November. Both again, alarmingly recorded their lowest comparable monthly figures during the past decade. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

CL Financial – CLICO bailout: Afra Raymond documents The Treasury Scandal

CL Financial Fraud

“In my view the failure and or refusal to account for the colossal and unprecedented expense of the CL Financial bailout is indicative of a ‘Quiet Coup‘ against our Republic.  I am deliberately borrowing Simon Johnson’s potent phrase, used to describe the coup of Financial Capital against the USA published in a fascinating and essential article from The Atlantic.  The fact that two successive administrations have remained bound to these arrangements and the low priority given to transparency and accountability in this matter all speak to the potency of the plotters.”

Afra Raymond gives ’em hell with The Treasury Scandal

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Filed under Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption

Barbados military head thanks Ambassador from world’s largest slave camp operation

china-barbados-flag-sm

Ambassador Xu Hong Meets with Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force

(From Chinese Embassy in Barbados

2013/08/16

On August 14, Chinese Ambassador Xu Hong met with Colonel Quintyne, Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF). They exchanged views on how to deepen bilateral relations with a focus on cooperation between Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Barbados Defence Force.

Colonel Quintyne extended his gratitude to the Chinese side for the technical support and personnel training provided to the BDF. He pointed out that in recent years, the military cooperation between Barbados and China developed smoothly with fruitful progress. He hoped to strengthen the cooperation and exchange between the two militaries thus deepening the friendship between Barbados and China.

Ambassador Xu spoke highly of the effort made by the BDF to promote bilateral military cooperation. He expressed the willingness to work together with Barbadian side to further widening the scope of military cooperation with the aim of raising bilateral relations to a new level.

And now for the counter story…

Slave Labour Camps “Vital Part of Chinese Economy” – Should Barbados Take Gifts From Communist China?

Barbados silent about China kidnapping, forcing abortions, sterilizations on 7000 women

China’s New Slave Empire: Africa

China’s Olympic Soccer Balls Made By Slave Labour – But Barbados Doesn’t Care

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Filed under Barbados, China, Human Rights, Slavery

Dominica hotel owner slams LIAT Airlines

Liat Airline

Dominica Hotelier Calls for Executive Changes at LIAT

Dominica hotelier Gregor Nassief has issued an open letter to the Board of Directors of regional airlines LIAT calling for an executive shake-up, insisting that “heads must roll.”  The letter complains of disastrous customer service over the past two months as well as disastrous public relations and the damage this is causing to the region and to fragile economies of island states like Dominica so dependent on tourism and the airline’s service.

August 12, 2013

Board of Directors
LIAT (1974) LTD
V.C. Bird International Airport
P O Box 819
Coolidge
Antigua

Dear Directors:

Re:  Heads must roll

I respectfully ask you, on behalf of the people of the Caribbean, and the people that visit the Caribbean, and especially on behalf of the people of Dominica who depend on LIAT for their travel and also for their tourism industry, to enforce significant change in the executive ranks at LIAT.

This request is being made first because of 8+ weeks of disastrous customer service which continues to this day due to lack of foresight and planning on the part of LIAT’s executives, and second because of LIAT’s disastrous public relations which has revealed the depth of your executives’ indifference to your customers.

It is your duty to hold your executives accountable for their actions and performance.

Disastrous Service

There has been a complete breakdown in service for over 2 months now, which I and most persons traveling LIAT have experienced.  Here is a list of incidents:  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados

Barbados Inland Revenue fails to act on tax cheat information?

Barbados inland revenue

Stop the tax dodging – It killing We!

Contributed by anonymous BFP reader “W” *

As Barbadian citizens and tax payers we are always angry when others are not paying taxes when they should be. This information was brought to our attention over six months ago which we considered taking to the media but thought it was best to rightfully bring it to the attention of the Barbados tax office first. Information acquired has led to finding out that (company name removed by BFP) have been avoiding paying tax on cash payments for many years and continue to do so. They will take the first month’s rental from landlords as commission nearly always in cash and never declare it to the Inland Revenue. The cash figures in question are huge and when you consider this has been going on for many years without being declared it has made a number of us very angry.

What has made it worse is the fact this has been brought to the attention of Barbados tax office on 8th March for the attention of Mr Anderson Padmore who quite frankly seems to be not taking the matter seriously enough. Written evidence has been submitted to the tax office in the form of dates, landlords & addresses of the various rental contracts along with some detail of which ones were undeclared cash payments and still nothing has been done about it.

The fact that the owner of (company name removed by BFP) is part of the (charitable agency name removed by BFP) team makes it even more disturbing. We have no doubt that the accusation will be denied by them but it seems to us that there is more than enough evidence to investigate and prosecute. This company obviously thinks that they are above the law in this country and they need reminding in the firmest possible way that they are bound by the law along with the rest of us.

* A word from BFP’s editor: Just remember folks… anonymous information isn’t to be trusted without some independent thinking and research. Take it with a grain of salt, and then let’s talk! Our readers are often able to substantiate or disprove stories. Let’s see what our readers come up with for this story.

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law

September promises to be a brutal month – but it need not be so!

American-Airlines-Dallas-Barbados

We have to do more than hope

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Once leaving August behind, we enter what is traditionally the most challenging periods in tourism terms.

Historically, the month that experiences the least number of arrivals of the year is September.

September 2012 recorded just 27,230 long stay visitor arrivals, the lowest number in any month for the past ten years.  A decline of 6.6 per cent over the same period in 2011.

Given our already dramatically reduced airlift, with an average of just 907 passengers per day, it will result in flying hundreds of empty airline seats daily, or in fact thousands by month end. Once the plane has taken off, clearly these seats cannot be sold twice the next day.

From an accommodation perspective, even if all these 27,230 persons stayed in a licensed hotel and the average stay was 7 nights with two per room, that still only fills less than 2,000 rooms – against a total that is often quoted of between 5,000 and 6,000. This of course, does not take into account all the apartments, villas. condominiums and any unregistered accommodation providers.

It also helps explain why several hotels and restaurants decide to close during September for annual holidays, refurbishment or simply to curtail operational costs.

September, perhaps, would have been the most logical month to roll-out the proposed APD Voucher, but this could have only possibly influenced one main market – the United Kingdom. As I have to submit this column a few days before publication, perhaps details of the voucher conditions will be announced in the interim.

So should the industry simply lay down and accept the current trend of falling visitor numbers?

Under the current fiscal challenges, we cannot afford to, so it becomes an imperative to look for other creative ways to achieve a positive difference. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

BREAKING: Jack Warner lawyer’s letter to former Barbados Chief Justice SIR David Simmons spreading like wildfire.

warner simmons letter

After BFP’s article Friday about a pending lawsuit against former Chief Justice SIR David Simmons by former FIFA VP Jack Warner, about a dozen anonymous readers sent us copies of the 8 page letter in question that is everywhere on the internet.

It had to have been released originally either by the sender or the recipient. I wonder which side released it?

Here it is. We don’t know how to put it into one document, so if someone wants to do that we’d appreciate it. We publish the eight pages in eight files because that is how we received it…

Aug12,11192013-1 Aug12,11212013-2 Aug12,11222013-3 Aug12,11232013-4 Aug12,11242013-5 Aug12,11252013-6 Aug12,11262013-7 Aug12,11292013-8

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption

Bajans commit to the One Moment World photo exhibition

Barbados Free Press will be taking photos for the One Moment World photo project.

The concept originated with two Estonian sisters: Teevi and Teesi Zeemann and it’s very simple…

Thousands of people all around the world will take a photo at the same moment: September 14, 2013 at 13:00 UTC / GMT

The photos will then be made into an art display, books and posted online.

Website: One Moment World

Facebook: One Moment World on Facebook

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Filed under Barbados

Send us documents, articles: whatever you like! You can trust Barbados Free Press.

barbados-epa-secret

Some folks want to know the answers to these questions…

How can I post a news article on Barbados Free Press?

Easy! Just email the article to us here: barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com

OR… you can use our Contact Us form.

How can I get a letter or document to BFP?

We don’t reveal our mailing address because we’re an anonymous blog. You’ll have to scan or photograph the document and then email it to us.

If the document is too large to email, try using one of the free document posting services where you can upload the document and then send us the secret link – all anonymously.

Try: anonfiles.com  Wikipedia has an updated list of anonymous file sharing sites

Will Barbados Free Press keep my identity secret?

Of course we will keep your identity secret. You don’t even have to tell us who you are. We publish anonymously-written articles all the time.

We’ve kept writers’ identities secret at their request since we started in 2006. That’s a long time and nobody has a better track record – not even WikiLeaks!

Does Barbados Free Press keep records of emails and files sent to you?

No we don’t. Once we publish something, read your email or otherwise finish with what you send us, we delete everything securely. Only what is posted on BFP’s WordPress blog remains.

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press

BFP’s George: “I could just kiss Mac Fingall, but he wouldn’t like it – as cute as he is.”

Mac Fingall Queer Barbados

“THE WORLD IS NOW embroiled in discussion on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It is a discussion that should be of concern to everyone for if allowed to dominate it could spell the end of mankind.”

Mac Fingall in The Nation article Abnormal behaviour

Gay Love and Hate in Barbados

by George (with Cliverton)

Mac Fingall says that mankind will end because of gay love. Mac and I don’t agree about that, although I do agree that he has a right to say whatever he wants to. If Mac wants to talk ’nuff foolishness an climb de tree higher so his bare bum show more, he should climb higher.

I could kiss Mac because his seriously foolish talk makes people re-think their attitudes and words of hate towards gays and lesbians. (Also I could kiss Mac because he is cute – maybe even a handsome devil. I mean, look at that smile!)

When people really think about what Mac is saying, and then seriously think about their own attitudes, I believe that people can and do change their minds. Mac’s newspaper column forced people to consider why they hate gays.

More and more people these days are coming to the realization that gays are not a threat to society: they are just people. Mac doesn’t like that people are re-considering their attitudes to gays and lesbians so he wrote a newspaper column. The attempts like Mac’s to dehumanize or stigmatize fellow human beings for the way they are is no different than when there were ‘coloured’ and ‘white’ washrooms.

God made Mac one way. God made other people another way. Mac says God made me wrong. According to Mac, God made me imperfect and abnormal.

Tell that to God, Mac. Tell that to God.

Mac… You want to know what happens when people don’t view gays as real human beings?

This happens:

Jamaica: Cross dressing teen killed by mob

Posted by NEWSROOM on 22/07/2013 at 7:42pm

A teenager was set upon by a mob and killed at a party in St. James overnight. Continue reading

21 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Human Rights, Jamaica

Former FIFA VP Jack Warner to sue former Barbados Chief Justice SIR David Simmons

'Teflon" Jack Warner: survivor extraordinaire!

‘Teflon Jack” Warner: survivor extraordinaire!

Kettle, meet Pot… What a pair!

1 Comment

Filed under Politics

Life is hard for Sea Turtle hatchlings

Barbados Sea Turtle Release

We love to see the hatchling releases by the UWI Sea Turtle Project, but a photo of a Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) being cleaned reminds us that only a few turtles survive the first few days in the sea. The lucky or smart ones are few.

Sea turtle hatchling Barbados

All the more reason to immediately report anyone you see killing an adult turtle. There was a time when sea turtles were like the stars in the sky around Bim. Not anymore.

Each one of us has a responsibility to protect and grow our sea turtle population.

Thanks to Skip to Malou and the Barbados Sea Turtle Project for the photos and links.

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Environment, Wildlife

Reader: Barbados Government makes subtle threats against people who speak out

barbados-lawsuit-question.jpgThe following comes to Barbados Free Press from an “anonymous” reader. We have not fact-checked the article. Anonymously authored pieces sometimes have deliberate errors and hidden agendas.

Readers are encouraged to check the facts out for themselves and discuss what they find in the comments section. Did the Minister of Education say what is alleged? Let’s have our readers check it out and report back. We’re happy to hear from the Minister or his staff too!

Read once, think twice.

Here it is…

No Confidence

by Anonymously Famous

In May of this year, a comment was made by the Minister of Education, in regards to a peaceful political meeting held by the opposition. The Minister stated that in the event of any rebellion against the Government, that they would need to “crack some heads and shoot some people.” I believe this was done to instill fear in the hearts and minds of the public.

Today, we find ourselves faced with a Government, whose main discourse with the people are lies and threats. In 2012, the Minister of Finance along with the Governor of the Central Bank, made it abundantly clear, that Barbados’ economy is stable, amidst the “Global Recession.” In seven to eight months down the road, we find the Governor retracting his statement with a plea to the people of Barbados.

I mentioned these incidents to state that they are several fundamental issues I personally face with this Government.  And I am aware that subtle threats are being made against anyone who dares speak out against the ruling party, but someone must take the mantle and risk a cracked head or a gunshot from the ruling Regime.

My main issue lies in the transparency, or lack thereof. In the 2013  – 2014 Budgetary Proposal, the Government has suggested several policies and plans they wish to implement in order to deal with the fiscal deficit, as well as generate foreign reserve for the country. Now we have a Government who has proposed to make a $35,000,000.00  dollar cut to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a $30,000,000.00 dollar cut to the Sanitation Department among many others. These cuts are to reduce the “four hundred million dollar deficit.” Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Economy, Politics

New St. Vincent and the Grenadines airport is a reality. What does it mean for Barbados?

Argyle International Airport 10April2011

Above: SVG Argyle Airport earlier in construction

When will Barbados Grantley Adams Airport receive Category One status?

2008 according to the government!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

I make no apologies of staying with the subject of implementation or rather the lack of it this week, as I feel it remains the single biggest impediment in returning our tourism industry to viability and restoring previous levels of long stay visitor arrivals.

What prompted these latest thoughts was scanning through various media coverage quoting several named Government officials and politicians, who stated that by the end of the year Grantley Adams International Airport would receive Category One status. The trouble being is that the press articles referred to were printed in 2007.

Here we are six years later with the same proclamations being made in the same publications.

Of course, it’s not just the aviation issue but the much vaunted Tourism Master Plan, the restructuring or the Barbados Tourism Authority, an all-embracing Hotel Refurbishment Fund and so on and on.

According to the organisation charged with the responsibility of making the new St. Vincent and the Grenadines airport a reality, the International Airport Development Company (IADC),  ‘the new Argyle Airport is expected to come operational in 2014’. Here we are just months away from opening and I wonder what impact, especially financially, it will have on any plans there may be for our own airport (GAIA Inc.).

“How much longer can we go on watching the world, or in this case our regional competitors, pass us by?”

Already GAIA Inc. has been negatively effected with reduced passenger arrivals and the use of smaller aircraft into Barbados, resulting in diminishing revenue generation: not only directly but for it’s tenants, concessions and service providers. Direct flights into Argyle, a reduction of double-drop flights to our neighbours and a dramatic fall in available airline seats to Barbados will further detrimentally add to this. Continue reading

33 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Barbados Cruise Ship tourist wants to know about day-use hotel rooms…

Barbados-ocean-dream-cruise

Dear Barbados Free Press,

How do we find out if any of the hotels in Barbados welcome the one day cruiser to visit and use their facilities and what the charge would be?

We were lucky enough to stay in Barbados for a week a few years ago and are visiting for one day via a cruise ship.  We want to be able to take a taxi to a hotel/motel/resort to sit by a beautiful beach where restroom facilities are accessible along with being able to purchase drinks and food.

Mary Blaine

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados Tourism

Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Finance high-powered legal fight to keep public in the dark about CL Financial!

by Afra Raymond

Afra Raymond

Guilty Government Fighting Afra Raymond’s Freedom of Information request all the way

Please note that the JCC President, Afra Raymond, will be interviewed by David Walker of 104.7fm on Thursday 15th August, 2013 between 11:00am-12noon on the issue of “State Enterprises & Issues Arising Within”

Be sure to tune in!

We received the following from our old friend Afra Raymond. You should read the original at Afra’s own website.

Ministry of Finance Dance

This is the 12th July affidavit filed by the Ministry of Finance in reply to my claim under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) filed against them in this matter.

This is a most interesting document for several reasons – Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Trinidad and Tobago