Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lessons for Barbados from the Roma Cafe, Detroit

“You can never get comfortable with something you’ve done, even though you’ve done it for so many years.”

“The city implemented an ‘awning tax’. They taxed us for having an awning over the city sidewalk.”

“When there are jobs, crime low. When there are no jobs, crime high.”


Filed under Barbados, Economy

Why does the Barbados Tourism Authority spend so much money in the USA… for such disastrous results?

“For the first eight months of 2013, American stay-over arrivals look even more depressing – recording declines in every single month – so far totaling 9,933 less visitors and already eradicating any microscopic gains made over the entire last five years.”

BTA’s spending makes no sense!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

Frankly I have never understood the seemingly illogical apportionment of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) annual budget and the ways it has been spent across our principal tourism markets.

The United States stands out as a vivid example…

In the five years 2003-2007, we welcomed 654,281 American long stay visitors. For the same duration 2008-2012, that number (661,646) grew by a minuscule 7,365 persons or an increase of just 1.1 per cent, which barely represents an incremental annual average of 0.2 per cent.

During that same second period, our neighbour, St. Lucia, recorded a 4.6 per cent improvement of US arrivals. Hardly spectacular, but with all those throwing their hands up in the air while shouting “APD (Advanced Passenger Duty), recession, global economic meltdown” and all the other possible excuses… St. Lucia’s 4.6 per cent is nothing to be ashamed of.

What continues to be puzzling is why ‘we’ continue to spend the lion’s share of the BTA budget in the US market, without being able to achieve a meaningful return on ‘our’ investment. More overseas offices, staff, airline subsidies, the legendary per diem and other expenses – more than any other major source, but little or nothing to show for it!

For instance, compare the exact same period with Canada, which grew by 35 per cent (87,339 extra arrivals) or an average of 7 per cent per annum.

The imminent withdrawal of American Airlines on the New York route is just one part of the problem. Yes! Our policymakers are scrabbling around trying to find alternative carriers to meet the loss of seats, but what exactly is the plan to fill them?  Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Old time Barbados

Saw it, had to share.


Part two here! You will always be a Bajan!


Filed under Barbados, History

Guide to tracing your Barbados roots

Convent School Barbados 1944 click photo for larger

Everywhere you go… you’ll find a Bajan

My great-great-grandfather Sandy Powell Sr. moved to North Carolina in the late 19th century. The story is that he came from Barbados after 1865, as a free man. No one knows why or under what conditions. We don’t know from where in Barbados he traveled, either. Was he part of a larger migration from the Caribbean to the Carolinas? If so, how do we trace that information? —Bettina Judd

It is true that everywhere you go today, you’ll find a Bajan. Here at Barbados Free Press we’ve been contacted by Bajans in China, Greenland, Panama, Russia, Antarctica and Peru to name a few. And way back when during the aftermath of Britain’s anti-slavery laws and movements, Bajans also traveled far and wide… but not always at their own desire. Over-crowding and poverty on Barbados was the catalyst for many young men and women to seek better lives over and away. They still do, and many for the same reasons – deny it as you will.

Many Bajans ended up in North and South Carolina both before and after slavery and the civil war, and many Americans from the Carolinas combine an annual vacation in Bim with the search for their roots and relatives.

We hear in the rum shop that a year ago former Prime Minister Owen Arthur received a young family from South Carolina who are related in some way to him a long time ago. It is a small world sometimes.

Places to look and see…

The Root: How Did My Free Bajan Ancestor End Up in North Carolina?

Ursuline Convent School of Barbados: A short history.

Photo credit: Ursuline Convent School of Barbados Photo Book

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Filed under Barbados, History

The man who won’t sell his country


Filed under Barbados

Bright lights, big city didn’t work out for expat Bajan… or did it? Merry Christmas, Rosalie.


Should Rosalie have stayed in Barbados?

The call beckons, especially to the best most industrious Bajans: Go over and away. You can make more money, have a better life for yourself and your children.

Some of those adventures work out, and some don’t. For Marcus and Shona in Brooklyn, New York, it worked out but after a few years they came home anyways.

For Rosalie, it was another story…

Does Rosalie have any regrets after leaving Bim more than 40 years ago? At 87 years old she has nothing, and lives in Montreal, Canada on welfare, food banks, subsidized housing and the charity of others.

But at 87, she’s accepted it all and at least feels accomplished in her steadfast goal of granting her daughters a better life abroad.

“I read my Bible and I try not to worry. Why worry about what you don’t have when you can be thankful for what you have?” she said. “I don’t believe (it’s good) to mope, you have to be careful not to depress yourself. It doesn’t make sense to pull yourself even further down worrying that you can’t have this or that. It doesn’t make sense.

“And it’s amazing how the Lord will send someone to give you a biscuit or a little sugar when you need it. So you worry for nothing.”

Rosalie is among the thousands who are to receive a $125 cheque from The Gazette Christmas Fund this year. The money helps families and individuals in need get through the holiday season.

… read the entire article at the Montreal Canada Gazette: Rosalie gave up everything to give her daughters a better life


Filed under Barbados, Economy, History

Polo Club girlie upset with Ian Bourne – but is it really about corrupt government land sales?

Bjerkhamn-Edwards Barbados Polo (click image for larger)

Barbados Equestrian Association’s Angelique Bjerkhamn-Edwards tore into Ian Bourne in a very public and nasty way on Facebook.

It started off with a polite request for The Bajan Reporter to take down an article about how the polo team was doing in Florida. Ms. Bjerkhamn-Edward demanded that Mr. Bourne take down one of her internet pieces that he had republished and credited her for.

“No problem,” says Ian, “just trying to show Barbados over and away, no harm intended” It’s her post and if she objects down it would come.

You wouldn’t expect anything else from Ian Bourne, and so he did take down the post.

But that wasn’t good enough for the polo girlie Angelique: she just had to give him a piece of her mind in public…

“Thanks – I do not personally agree with all you have written or posted in you blog / paper in the past and would prefer being asked and approving what you are using if of my work – thank you for your understanding on this matter.”

“I am not happy being affiliated or used on you so called paper. Please take down the post and my name immediately – I do not want to be associated with ur work.”

Say... isn't that Angelique on the left?

Say… isn’t that Angelique on the left? (Click photo for large)

I can’t figure it out: was Princess Angelique sore at Ian because he covered the Natya Soodeen story and exposed the Barbados Equestrian Association acting like a bunch of dictators?

Or was it that Ian asked questions about why the government sold her family valuable public land for a song @ $3 a square foot?

So let’s review those stories again folks, because there were never any answers and the stories just faded away…

Bajan Reporter: Many Bajans feel Top Rider Natya Soodeen marginalised in petty in-house squabbles!

Bajan Reporter: Barbados’ Opposition continue to push for removal of Housing Minister over Coverley Contract

Barbados Free Press: Bajan Reporter issues fair warning to the Barbados Equestrian Association

Barbados Free Press: Online petition slams Barbados Equestrian Association suspension of Natya Soodeen


Filed under Barbados