Monthly Archives: February 2014

Shocker: Frozen Taiwan Mahi-Mahi sold as fresh Barbados dolphin!

UPDATED: Importer to Barbados is… (drum roll please)…

Yinnex Co.
Taiwan 3 shipments total Has verified third-party data
2 shipments match west indies
…Stowed In A Refrigerated Set At The Of 25 Also Morgans Fish House Inc. 7 Gibbons Industrial Park, Barbados West Indies

Attn: Mr. Jonathan Morgan (link here)

Barbados Fish Market Mahi Mahi

We used to have to explain Bajan Dolphin to visitors. “It isn’t flipper but a fish known elsewhere as mahi mahi”.

Now even Bajans may need some explanations. As this recent photo taken at the Bridgetown Fishing Complex shows, your “fresh Bajan Dolphin” may well be defrosted Taiwanese Mahi Mahi!

How can this be? The answer is that it is easier and cheaper to import fish from the other side of the world, rather than to pay local fisher folk fair value.

Wary Bajan Fish Eater

Barbados Taiwan Dolphin (click photo for large)

Thanks to an old friend!

And from another old friend, we received this:

Yinnex Co. 17TH FL, 129 FU HSING SOUTH ROAD, SECTION 1 TAIPEI,TAIWAN S/O:1111

24 Comments

Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues

Daughters of the Niger Delta “The oil has spoiled everything for us…”

BFP has been invited to see this documentary on Saturday March 8th. We’ll let you know what we think. Here is a description from the film’s website:

Daughters of the Niger Delta
Documentary (55:30 min)

Daughters of the Niger Delta is an intimate film portrait of three everyday heroines who manage to make ends meet against all odds. As their personal stories unfold, we come to see that the widely ignored environmental pollution in their backyard is not the only human rights issue affecting their lives.

The Stories

The film radically differs from the usual media reports about oil outputs, conflict, and kidnapping. It gives a taste of everyday life in the Niger Delta through the eyes of three ordinary women: Hannah, Naomi & Rebecca. Their struggle to survive in the delta’s beautiful but pollution-marred wetlands confronts us with the human impact of corporate irresponsibility, gender injustice, and failing government service delivery.

The stories of Hannah, Naomi, and Rebecca are sobering as well as uplifting. They shed light on day-to-day injustices that we rarely hear about in the news. But they also highlight women’s strength and resilience. Despite the hardship affecting their lives, the filmed women are determined to give their children a better future. Women may be the best captains to navigate the Niger Delta out of its troubled waters – if only they were given the chance.

Women’s Voices

It’s time to listen to women’s voices. Their priorities are relevant not only for the Niger Delta, but also for other parts of Nigeria that currently are marred by violence and social unrest. Women’s experiences can enrich the policy discourse – if only we are willing to listen.

Film website: Daughters of the Niger Delta

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Filed under Africa, Disaster, Environment, Human Rights

Discredited Barbados Police can’t shake the tourist rape case that won’t go away.

Barbados rape dna police

Tourist Rape Victims continue to press for justice – for them and  for the wrongly accused!

Rape victims Dr. Rachel Turner (left) and Diane Davies (right) continue their quest to have the Royal Barbados Police Force re-open their rape cases. The two women were violently attacked in October 2010 while visiting Barbados, and then spent the next two years trying to free the man who was falsely arrested for the crime. Derrick Crawford spent two years in jail before the charges were dropped, despite the protests by the victims that he was not the man. True to form, our professional police force never took DNA samples from the victims, and the innocent man, Derrick Crawford, says most credibly that the police beat his confession out of him. You know, just like usual as people on this rock know.

The Commissioner of Police at the time was Darwin Dottin. BFP had been calling for Dottin’s sacking for years but it was not until June of 2013 that Bajans were finally rid of the man who led the Royal Barbados Police Force into a steep decline in professionalism and public support. Last June, the victims cheered Dottin’s removal…

Mrs Davies told the BBC she was “absolutely delighted” that Commissioner Dottin was no longer in charge.

“He supported the police investigation and turned on us,” said Mrs Davies.

She called on whoever replaces Commissioner Dottin to “reopen the case and find the man who attacked us”.

… from the BBC’s Barbados Rapes: Police Chief Removed

Now the victims are back in the news, having written to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart after Acting Commissioner Tyrone Griffith also refused to re-open the case.

How long will it take on politicians and police to learn that these days, you can’t make difficult or embarrassing happenings go away by ignoring them!

The internet is here. This story won’t go away on it’s own. It will keep coming back because the real rapist remains free and the victims want justice.

TopGear is coming. Watcha gonna do, Commissioner?   Continue reading

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

Sandals 9 month closure another blow to Barbados economy and employment

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

So entirely contrary to all the heady rhetoric that the introduction of Sandals brand will drive additional airlift: in fact the exact opposite will happen from their closure on 1st April for major renovations.

At least until the re-opening slated for December 2014.

Quoting their own projected occupancy of an average of 85 per cent with a typical stay of 7 nights and two persons per room, that’s almost 500 lost airline seats per week or a mind boggling 16,000 plus by the end of this year.

Will this further destabilise the remaining carriers that continue to service Barbados and lead to yet more airlines cutting routes or reducing capacity? Tour operators, already unable to match demand with the high cost of doing business here, are considering switching flights to other destinations where they can glean a profit.

Once again citizens are left speculating whether our Government was aware and factored in the almost nine months closure with hundreds of hospitality employees being thrown on the unemployment pile, before granting unilateral extraordinary concessions to the Sandals group.

Perhaps they calculated the NIS and income tax contributions collected from local construction workers hired for refurbishment would more than make up for this. Because clearly, the state is not going to collect other taxes like VAT and import duties from Sandals as they have all been waived.  Most materials used will also be imported, so a substantial percentage of the estimated US$65 million project will simply re-export foreign exchange (FX).

Several other issues also have to be considered: The lost revenue to our Direct Tourism Services with included package components like golf green fees, catamaran, diving etc., let alone secondary spending that 16,000 plus extra visitors would have generated on submarine excursions, taxis, car rental attractions, activities and shopping. The list goes on and on. Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Economy

Adrian Loveridge looks at government spin on the disaster of Barbados Tourism

Sandals isn’t paying VAT to Barbados

Government has a 10 point Tourism plan? Really?

In four years the Government of Barbados hasn’t paid VAT refunds to Loveridge’s Peach and Quiet Hotel.

“Water is up by 62%. Electricity up by 70%…

What government in their right mind increases land taxes by 50% in a recession? Tell me!”

On the incredible tax and other concessions given to Sandals…

“Put it in simple terms. For my hotel to buy a 750ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch would cost me sixty US dollars. Sandals are able to pay ten dollars.”

“Unilateral concessions to Sandals immediately destabilized the other 120 hotels on the islands, not to mention the condos, villas, apartments and guest houses. Completely destabilized the industry.”

36 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Disaster, Economy

Gardasil HPV vaccine controversy continues

“Orchestrated Campaign of Intimidation” or a lively debate?

Katie Couric gets hammered for daring to challenge big business.

Mercola.com: Gardasil and the Public Flogging of Katie Couric

BFP’s thanks to Larry

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Health

Letter to Trinidad & Tobago’s Registrar General – about fraudulent mortgages and fictitious deeds

Trinidad mortgage fraud

How did the Republic Bank let a mortgage under these circumstances?

Editor’s note: We received a copy of this email from an unverified person. Take everything with some salt, folks – but let’s have a look…

Dear Registrar,

I am writing to you in hopes that you can launch an investigation regarding the fraudulent mortgages and deeds that are registered in your data base.

The first is a deed of ascent, executed on 26Apr2006, by Carolyn Joefield with a deed # de200601162018.  It was verified on 05Aug 2010.

The second is a deed of conveyance executed on 24Jul2007, by Dexter James with a deed # de200703243051.  It was verified on 11Jan2008.

The last one is deed of conveyance executed 30Jan2009, by Evered Edwards with a deed # de200900680520.  Unfortunately, I do not have the date that this was verified for you.

“It is my belief that the following institutions willingly and knowingly used fictitious property descriptions and deeds of ascent and conveyance to acquire loans and steal property, my property included.”

It seems the 3 deeds mentioned above form part of an invisible estate that does not exist in reality, only on paper.  My question to the Registrar is, how did a Nyron Josefield, not Joefield, acquire a mortgage with Republic Bank using deed # 200601152018 on 19Oct2006?  The records clearly show that the deed that was used was only verified on 05Aug2010.  Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Real Estate, Trinidad and Tobago

American tourist: Barbados the best vacation ever! The locals really made our trip.

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I found your blog as I was deciding which Caribbean island to visit.  After much deliberation we landed on Barbados.  Our trip went far and beyond our expectations!  We experienced much of the Bajan culture and it was with no contest the best vacation we have ever been on.  The locals really made our trip, anyone we talked to was extremely friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them.

Anyway I made this video of our trip and thought you may want to see it.  Please feel free to use the video however you like, I’m not looking for any compensation I just want to give back to the beautiful island!  I sure hope it helps with tourism because Barbados was incredible.

Best wishes to every Bajan,

Kyle Lawson, Madison, Wisconsin

Kyle’s blog shows how he made his Bajan video – all the tricks and techniques

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

The Elephant in the Room

Trinidad Elephant Room

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

The huge potential supply of State-built, unfinished office buildings in our capital is the ‘Elephant in the Room‘. There are potent elements at play here in terms of the viability of the long-term and large-scale investments which have been made in Port-of-Spain by private and public capital.

At this point, taking account of offices over 25,000 sf in size, there are over 1,500,000 sf of incomplete offices in our capital. This article will examine the likely outcomes for our capital and those investors as the various projects are completed.

The State has 1,329,000 sf of incomplete offices in POS and the private sector has 224,800 sf. The State has virtually seven times more incomplete offices than the private sector and that is the ‘Elephant in the Room’.

Continue reading Afra Raymond’s The Elephant in the Room

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Filed under Barbados

Did the Thomson Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner push up tourist arrivals in Barbados?

Is there some room for cautious optimism in our tourism performance?

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Following 21 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline, January 2014 recorded a modest increase of 3.2 per cent when compared with the same month in 2013.

It is however important to keep this in absolute perspective…

January 2013 was down 8.2 per cent (4,331 people) when measured against January 2012 and unless we finish the end of February, 7,972 land based visitors up – we will still be woefully behind the identical period last year.

The growth largely came from the United Kingdom with 1,455 more long-stay visitors over the same period in January 2013. This in itself is encouraging because as frequently pointed out, the British and Europeans tend to stay longer – therefore usually contributing a higher per capita spend.

The higher UK arrivals were largely driven by two charter airlines.

Thomas Cook operating a new service and Thomson adding increased capacity with recently introduced B787 Dreamliner aircraft. Passengers off these flights would have included a significant number of cruise and stay holidaymakers, but both carriers offered many seats on sale at substantially reduced fares, which in some cases were less than GBPounds 300 return, including all taxes.

With such a diverse destination and a myriad range of accommodation options, these last minute ‘bargains’ present an opportunity to fill some beds at short notice.

Scheduled carrier Virgin Atlantic carried fewer passengers on the Gatwick service, but more from Manchester, while British Airways (BA) had a net gain. Again, to emphasis that these comparisons are all based on the differential between January 2013 and 2014.

Virgin’s numbers must also take into account dramatically reduced capacity as a result of equipment change from a daily B747 service to mostly the smaller A330 planes on the London route.

BA and Virgin also held an extended seat sale which expired on 28th January, with some of the lowest legacy fares available in the entire Caribbean for the remainder of 2014. Hopefully this resulted in substantial bookings, which will positively impact the arrival numbers later this year.

No Growth in the USA market       Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Harlequin’s Matthew Ames guilty of ponzi scheme fraud. Will father David Ames be next?

Matthew David Ames FraudDave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

Throw away the key to Matt Ames’ cell…  Wait a minute, let’s use it one more time!

Kate’s brother – James Middleton, right, at the carbon trade exhibition in London October 2010

Kate’s brother – James Middleton, right, at the 2010 carbon trade exhibition. Matt Ames also oversaw Harlequin’s Buccament Bay

Ruined lives, pensions destroyed, homes lost. Suicides. Marriage breakups. Families falling apart as the work of a lifetime vanishes.

That is the legacy of Harlequin’s Matthew Ames, who was just convicted of fraud for running a ponzi scheme. Ames took £1.2million from the rich, from the poor, from widows and pipefitters. He was an equal opportunity swindler who dressed well, talked with such easy confidence that people immediately trusted him.

His product was topical, sexy in its own way: carbon credits, green investments, Forestry for Life. And didn’t he drive a Lamborghini? Wasn’t he also part of the Harlequin Resorts team? Isn’t his father successful? Just look at the people Matt Ames is seen with: Jack Charlton, and even James Middleton – brother of our future Queen.

“Out of the £1.6m that was invested across both companies, only £250,000 was ever returned to investors.

“The rest went directly into the pocket of Matthew Ames, funding his profligate spending habits.”

Ames used people with “impressive CVs” to promote Forestry for Life and give it a sense of legitimacy.

From Echo News Echo nabs £1 million fraudster

2,293 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Economy, Offshore Investments

Hey Buddy, can you spare Barbados a dime?

How is it possible that we are here? Begging the EU, begging China, begging anyone to help us keep the lights on and the water flowing?

Leadership – that’s what got us into this mess, and the same leadership says it can take us out of the mess: but only if we beg and borrow…

BRIDGETOWN—The European Union says it is willing to provide Bds$100 million to Barbados in grant funding. A statement issued following talks between Barbados and EU delegations, noted that the funds would become available once certain macro-economic and public finance criteria were fully met. It said Bds$65 million could become available to Barbados this year. The European Union last year released Bds$28 million for the Barbados Human Resource Development Programme, while another Bds$15 million was provided through the Barbados Renewable Energy Programme, all in the form of non-reimbursable grants. The EU delegation was led by Ambassador Mikael Barfod, while Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler led the Barbados team. “The EU would like you to know that it could assist Barbados in leaving the present crisis behind,” Barfod told Sinckler.

Guardian Media

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Disaster, Economy

Barbados tourism industry having a wonderful year: lowest arrivals in a decade.

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

We are now midway through the peak winter tourism season and it is small wonder that the general populous becomes confused or even bemused when trying to monitor exactly how the industry is performing.

Especially when there are a number of proclamations emanating from our policymakers, who many may feel should be better informed.

Two of these recent utterings really stand out!

The first when a Minister of Government stated in the foreign press that we have had a good start to the season, when in fact December 2013 recorded the lowest long stay visitor arrivals for that month during the last eleven years.

Meanwhile, while accepting the numbers are down, the actual Minister of Tourism partially justifying the dismal sector performance by stating ‘value-added’ is up, totally contradicting the Governor of The Central Bank in his latest video report on our economic condition, who clearly revealed that factually, it is down.

If these incidents were rare or isolated, perhaps it could be just brushed off as possible journalistic misquoting, but the latest ones come after a long list of heady predictions that simply have not materialized.

Last year these included ‘a resounding success’, ‘upbeat about arrivals’ and ‘extremely strong’, when referring to Crop Over and July. Later in 2013, ‘it is already a November to remember’ and ‘November had been one of the best Barbados had seen in a while’.

In reality, both months set new records over the last decade for recording the lowest stay-over visitors for comparable periods. Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

LIAT Leadership Asleep At The Wheel Again

by Robert MacLellan

by Robert MacLellan

In the first month of 2014 Caribbean regional media reported that LIAT has had to choose between paying employee salaries and paying aircraft lease charges in order to maintain flight operations. Even before the news of LIAT’s latest financial crisis, the flight chaos of last summer was nearly repeated in December 2013, at the start of the Caribbean’s tourism high season, and was only averted through last minute decision changes by LIAT’s board of directors and its temporary CEO.

The LIAT fleet was reportedly due to reduce to only nine aircraft last December. At the same time, aircraft conversion training for flight deck crew was planned to be ongoing and flight deck crew annual vacations were scheduled to peak that month. With a similar mix of factors to those which caused LIAT’s summer meltdown, the potential for major disruption to flights appeared to be equally great for this winter. Unbelievably, the LIAT board and senior management had authorised this disastrous scenario to coincide with the Christmas holidays and the start of the international tourism high season in the Caribbean.

Having just avoided that mismanagement disaster in December, LIAT executives have been faced in mid January with the imminent grounding of six company planes by the aircraft leasing company.  Lease payments are reportedly tens of millions of dollars in arrears and a collapse in flight operations has only been avoided by delaying payroll for LIAT’s long suffering employees.

Ongoing disarray at LIAT     Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Can MP’s leave their egos at home?

Journalist Ian Bourne

Journalist Ian Bourne

Like my old pal from Pull-Push, I also am not an Economist, but instead I wish to provide someways and means I have been mulling in the hopes Barbados would flourish once again, if they are used or adapted then at least progress is made – everyone is operating too close to the chest, as they seem to want to be the sole savior, Barbados needs to open up and thus advance in making the way forward as clear as possible!

DISAPPOINTMENT: BLP FAILS ALSO!

It is sad that David Estwick changed his mind so drastically from Saturday at 2 p.m. We may never learn what fair means or foul were used to achieve the base result which leaves more bitterness in many Bajans’ mouths already soured by the gall of hardships that continue to appear so odd when compared with the rest of the world, which appears to be mending at a steady pace…

The chance for either side of Barbadian politics to redeem itself saw the Grinch winning late last year when Mia Mottley failed to cut her own salary on Black Friday when the loss of 3,000 in the public sector was foreshadowed. She could have chosen to emulate, and even create a Bajan precedent, by doing like Nevis, Bermuda & St Vincent when their new leaders chose wage slashing as their first act in Office. Vance Amory chose to give his fellow Nevisians a savings of EC $70,000 a year for the next five years off of his salary; while Craig Cannonier in Bermuda did like Ralph Gonsalves in St Vincent – 10% for himself and 5% for the rest of Cabinet.

… continue reading this article at The Bajan Reporter

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Economy, Politics

Is there anyone awake at the Barbados Tourism Authority?

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Some months ago the Barbados Tourism Authority finally published a list of licensed hotels and a limited number of other accommodation providers. Sadly, I only saw it in the press and failed to understand why the agency did not post this latest listing on the official website, where the majority of the end users could access this information at any time, prior to booking.

There seems absolutely no point having a national website unless it is maintained. A simple example is that three months after being granted unilateral extraordinary concessions Sandals Barbados does not yet appear on the visitbarbados.org, accommodation section.

In fact, the site is so far out-of-date the location is still shown as Casuarina Beach Club, even ignoring its brief history as a Couples Resort!

It is quite frankly staggering the array of alternative accommodation that is widely advertised on the internet, with absolutely no indication whether these properties meet the same insurance, fire and health requirements that our registered lodging offerings are required under law to comply with.

Tax avoidance or Tax Fraud… where is the line?

What is also alarming is the number of establishments that make no mention of VAT (Value Added Tax).  Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

George Waldron – from Black Rock, Barbados to Guyana in the 1920’s or 1930’s

Black Rock Barbados History

I would love to hear from the Waldrons of Black Rock

I am an avid reader of the Barbados Free Press and am very happy that I can get to access your news online.

My reason for sending this email is to request some information about some long lost relatives that I would love to connect with in Barbados.

My great grandfather, now deceased, came to Guyana many years ago. His name was George Waldron and was from Black Rock. He came to Guyana sometime in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s and never returned to Barbados.

I would like to connect with the old and the young folks of the Waldron family. I am a Guyanese citizen and presently living in Guyana.

Thanks!

CG

Photo courtesy of Tramz.com’s The Tramways of Bridgetown Barbados

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Guyana, History

REPORT: Dangerous hotel tap water at Sochi Olympics.

danger olympics water

“Do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.”

Fear of Muslim terrorism permeates the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia.

Today’s on the edge report comes from a Chicago Tribune reporter who turned on the tap in her hotel and poured a nice glass of the above.

One has to wonder how the contestants will be able to concentrate when everything must be processed through a filter of ‘It might be Muslim terrorism’.

In Sochi, Russia, Don’t Touch The Water

CHICAGO (CBS) — We all know how the old saying goes when you travel: “Don’t drink the water.”

Well in Sochi, Russia, you had better not TOUCH the water, either.

When Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair, who is covering the Winter Olympics for the newspaper, arrived at her hotel, she was informed that there was a problem with the water and it had been shut off.

Then hotel staff delivered an ominous warning: “Do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.”

Her tweet about the situation has gone viral.

… read the rest at CBS Chicago

4 Comments

Filed under Disaster