Monthly Archives: October 2013

Afra Raymond on More 104.7fm – talks about his lawsuit against the Minister of Finance

afra raymond

Afra Raymond chats on the show ’Forward Thinkers‘ with David Walker on 104.7FM, dealing with the CL Financial bailout and my lawsuit against the Minister of Finance to get at the detailed information as to how the $24B in Public Money was spent. 24 October 2013. Audio courtesy More 104.7 FM. Listen here.

Programme Date: Thursday 24th October 2013
Programme Length: 0:45:41

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Filed under Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Trinidad and Tobago

Loveridge on Barbados tourism: The time for remedial action has long since passed

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Even though it has not become widespread public knowledge, September 2013 became the 18th consecutive month of long stay visitor decline and recorded the lowest stay-over arrivals of any month in the last 11 years.

As someone who has invested their life savings and 25 years in the Barbados tourism industry, it give me no pleasure to state this unpleasant fact, but someone has to say it. If only in the interests of survival.

The time for remedial action has long since passed.

“Once again, it is now a case of damage limitation and focusing on what the private sector can do for itself,  to avoid annihilation of the industry as we know it.”

This may at first appear dramatic, but you only have to look around at other businesses on the island to understand that a sector that has been financially drained for a year and a half cannot be immune from the same challenges others are facing.

Not that our policymakers are listening, but I am going to make a few suggestions…

1)   Establish a National Marketing Committee (NMC) in the shortest practical time, comprising of proven professionals with a rotating Chairman, chosen irrespective of any political party leanings.

The existing Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) board would cease to play any functional part in promoting the destination, or simply be disbanded, based on non-performance.

2)   Place the opposition spokesperson on tourism (regardless of which party is in power) on this committee, to ensure there is true non-partisan participation in decision making and understanding of the current problems. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

S. Brian Samuel on Sandals in Grenada “I know where a few skeletons are buried…”

beaches by sandals

In view of the recent Barbados Sandals/Beaches deal, we travel to Grenada where S. Brian Samuel presents…

A Case Study of Hotel Investment in Grenada

S-Brian-Samuel Barbados Sandals

by S. Brian Samuel

1. Introduction

I recently published an article entitled “Attracting Foreign Investment to Grenada” in which I noted some of the pitfalls to investing in Grenada. In the article I briefly mentioned the case of LaSource resort, to illustrate the use of fiscal incentives as a way of securing the Sandals chain investment in Grenada.

On reflection, the story of La Source is worthy of a deeper look. The LaSource saga, for indeed it is a saga; with ups, downs and plot twists worthy of any soap opera; is a classic illustration of what that can go right — and wrong — with hotel investments in small Caribbean islands. I guess I am qualified to write the story; for I was there from before the beginning; until after the end.

2. Before the Beginning

In 1990 I was working in Barbados for the Caribbean Project Development Facility, an offshoot of the World Bank. My job was to raise financing for Caribbean businesses, and one of my earliest (successful!) projects was La Source hotel in Grenada, which was being promoted by a local developer called Leon Taylor.

The first time I met Taylor, he wasn’t in a particularly good mood, as he had become frustrated from having to deal with the financing agencies, one of them being the agency I worked for. He fixed his good eye on me and growled “What the f___ do you want?” or words to that effect! But things went steadily upwards from there, and I ultimately ended up raising US$15 million for LaSource, in debt and equity financing from a consortium of development banks. That in itself was a long and winding road; including one memorable day when I finally cornered Leon into going over the final Business Plan for the resort, line by painstaking line – under a coconut tree on Sandy Island, during Carriacou Regatta!

In all my 20 years at the World Bank, LaSource remains my all-time proudest project — and there were quite a few contenders. For a start it reconnected me to Grenada, my home I never knew; and that feeling carried over into a sense of pride in a job well done, when I stood side-by-side with Leon Taylor on the gala opening night of LaSource in December 1993. When I retired from the World Bank and returned home in 2008, I worked as Executive Director of LaSource from its reopening in February 2008 until October 2010. So I know where a few skeletons are buried.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Grenada

Felicia Browne really asks: Are women tough enough for the rough and tumble of politics?

Women in Politics: Gender Imbalances

press release to Barbados Free Press by Felicia Browne

Felicia Browne

Felicia Browne

Women’s Rights advocate Felicia Browne maintains that it very important that women in politics are respected by their male counterparts. Browne argues that although political discourses may at times become passionate, it ought not to become passionate, differences should be discussed in terms of opinion and political stance, not by bullying because of gender.

Her concern follows from a recent assertion by a male Minister and Parliamentary Representative to a female Opposition Leader here in Barbados. Following from his argument, Browne notes that though he may not have intended verbal abuse his female counterpart, his public assertion reinforces some of the alarming concerns that woman’s activists are raising awareness of, when highlighting the issues on women’s rights.

Browne adds that “The Minister must be fully aware that women are being abused verbally and physically in our societies. We must never allow ourselves to project such impassionate messages to pass as a social norm. We must never allow such verbal abuses to be so easily projected and excused as a “social norm”, particularly by those who should look to garner more respect as representatives of a nation.

These types of norms are detrimental, not only to our women but to our families. The growing trend in Domestic Violence is reflective on the nature of how women are being treated as human beings. We must recognize the long-term effects that those terms can have our societies. Such statements that seeks to dehumanize the woman in sexual; derogatory terms- has not place in national politics or any part of our society.

We cannot continue to believe that these types of abuses do not affect women in general. It is not surprising that women are not encouraged into politics. Women usually exhibit fears due to the fact that such humiliations deter them to contribute meaningfully to their communities and societies. We must also observe that our young children and youths have privy to such information and can lead to a false perception that this type of behavior is acceptable. We must attempt and continue to show respect and gratitude to each other- show peace and understanding- rather look to methods of political discourse that are demeaning or disrespectful to anyone involved.

Felicia Browne is a Feminist Philosopher at the University of the West Indies and Human Rights Advisor. (FeliciaBrowne.com)

Editor’s note: (Cliverton) But what about studies that show that women are usually the initiators of physical violence in relationships even if they come out poorly when violence is once engaged? Huh? What about that?

Let’s not get into victim celebration too much lest the truth out…

“Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.”

National Institute of Health study Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury

“While studies have consistently found that women initiate as much violence against their male partners as vice versa, two-thirds of domestic violence injuries are suffered by women.”

Researcher Says Women’s Initiation of Domestic Violence Predicts Risk to Women

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Filed under Barbados, Human Rights

Bajan Ralph Straker passes in the UK – One of thousands recruited from the Caribbean by London Transport in the 1950s

Ralph Straker Barbados London Transit That’s Ralph on the left!  🙂

Left Barbados for London Transport in 1956

Many of those who came to Britain had expected to stay for a few years, but remained for most of their working lives. They often maintained strong links with home, as well as making new friends at work and in the community.

Ralph Straker, recruited as a bus conductor in 1956, agrees.

He said: ‘I have a house already waiting on me there.

‘But my wife isn’t quite ready yet.

‘She’s waiting on the grandchildren… I am waiting to put my foot on the sands and sip my rum punch.

‘I’m looking forward to the day when we can do that.’

… from a 2010 article in Transport for London (here)

Ralph Straker passed on Saturday October 12, 2013 at 77 years old – which is not that old in Bajan terms, but he’d been living in the UK since 1956 and that fast pace must take a few years off a person. But Ralph and his wifey Monica had been married for 54 years, had hundreds of friends and their children and extended family, so Ralph by all accounts led a good life. He was a verger at his church for 45 years and you can’t call a man like that anything but a bedrock of the community and a true leader by example.

Mr. Straker was one of thousands from the Caribbean recruited in the 1950s by London Transit to counter the exodus of Brits after the war to places far afield like South Africa, Australia, America, Canada and the orient. That adventure alone is worth a read.

Our prayers for the Straker family and friends.

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Filed under Barbados, History

An enforced building code would have prevented this accident and saved a tourism scandal

Court Justice Scales

British court decision could harm Bajan tourism

  • How Briton who walked into glass door in a bikini could push up the price of holidays after winning £24,000 payout
  • Moira Japp, 53, won the claim against Virgin Holidays for the 2008 accident
  • She sued because the door in her room was not made of toughened glass
  • Ruling could mean greater costs for UK holidaymakers

A compensation payout to a holidaymaker who suffered life-threatening injuries after walking into a glass door in her bikini is threatening to leave the UK travel industry in chaos, top judges have heard.

Lawyers have warned that an award to Moira Japp, who was hurt during her stay at an exclusive Caribbean hotel, will ‘create great difficulties for the tourist industry’ by expecting ‘far-flung exotic places’ to comply with British health and safety standards.

Mrs Japp had been relaxing on her balcony at the Crystal Cove Hotel in Barbados when she heard a phone ring inside, and accidentally walked into the closed French windows which led into her room.

The glass shattered and she suffered deep lacerations all over her body which, according to her lawyers, could have been life-threatening.

In October last year Mrs Japp, 53, from Worthing, West Sussex, sued trip organisers Virgin Holidays Limited and was awarded £24,000 damages.

However the company are now asking the Appeal Court to overturn that decision.

Read the full article at the Daily Mail

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law

Barbados offshore banking: meet rock and hard place…

tax cheater Barbados

submitted by Blackman

Few working class Bajans really understand the connection between our offshore banking / corporate industry and high quality tourism visitors. The downturn of mass tourism (or tourism for the masses, including cruise ship spend per passenger) is only a part of the story.

Another segment of our long-stay, high spend per visitor tourism industry is under assault because of international (primarily American) pressure to report our offshore banking clients to foreign governments.

It looks like the Barbados government is rolling over on this issue, but to be fair, what else can we do? Barbados: meet rock and hard place…

Barbados Eyes Inter-Governmental Agreement With US on FATCA

Barbados has signaled its intention to the United States of concluding a reciprocal Inter-Governmental Agreement to apply to the US’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said Thursday.

The Prime Minister said Barbados was “aware that an atmosphere of certainty was needed for domestic and international operators in our banking sector and other entities which met the criteria of foreign financial institutions under FATCA to thrive.”

“I look forward, therefore, to being able in the coming weeks to announce formally that the US is favourably disposed to negotiating a reciprocal Model 1 inter-governmental agreement with us,” he said. “And from our end, we will be working towards concluding agreement by year-end.”

The law requires the automatic exchange of US taxpayers’ foreign banking information. That places it in the same policy space as exchanges under the OECD, he said.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking, Economy