Monthly Archives: July 2014

Invader’s Bay a politicians’ debacle of questionable actions and hidden information

afra raymond CMMB

by Afra Raymond

After a flurry of attempted explanations from the Minister of Planning & Sustainable Development, Dr. Bhoe Tewarie, as to the real meaning of the High Court’s 14 July ruling on the Invader’s Bay matter, the State has now appealed that ruling and applied for expedited hearing of the matter while having the judgment stayed.

What that means is that the State is asking the Court to agree an extension of the Stay of Execution until the appeal is decided, so that the requested information could be withheld while the case is being heard.  Presumably, the State has asked for a speedy hearing so as to avoid any impression of them encouraging needless delay in this matter of high public concern.

This article will focus on the three critical findings in the judgment.

  • Legal Professional Privilege
  • Waiver of Privilege
  • The Public Interest Test

I will be examining Dr. Tewarie’s statement to Parliament on Friday 18 July, alongside the facts and the actual High Court ruling…

Read the entire article at Afra Raymond’s blog: Reality Check

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Filed under Consumer Issues, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Toothless Caribbean Court of Justice in chaos. Mounting embarrassment over unending incidents.

Justice Delayed Barbados

“Perhaps most damning is the account from the dismissed acting registrar of the Court, Jamaican Dr Leighton Jackson, who was escorted out of the Court’s Headquarters in May.” 

Ask anyone on the B’town streets and you’ll find that few Bajans realise that the vaunted Caribbean Court of Justice carries no actual power or authority even in Barbados – one of the few countries to sign on with the CCJ. Compliance with Caribbean Court of Justice decisions, you see, is still voluntary.

That’s not what has the CCJ in chaos though – it’s a series of recent incidents that some say threatens the court’s continuance.

News 7 in Belize put forth an excellent summary, but the news articles just keep coming including corrupt conduct by a Justice…

Check out the following:

Trinidad Express: CCJ faces internal battle

Stabroek News: CCJ judge gets $$ to hire driver

Stabroek News: CCJ problems sadden former Chief Justice

Jamaica Gleaner: Former CCJ Employee Says Jamaica should be cautious with Court

Administrative Disquiet at CCJ

from 7NewsBelize.com

The Caribbean Court of Justice is the highest Court in Belize, Barbados and Guyana but right now the court is under pressure at its headquarters in Trinidad. News reports from Port of Spain say that the court is facing internal legal battles resulting from a series of dismissals, resignations and suspensions of senior managers. The Court says it is restructuring after 10 years, but half of the 72 employees have joined a union to lodge grievances against the court – mainly about a change in the salary payment system.

On top of that, the court’s senior managers have hired an attorney who is preparing to file suit against the court according to the Trinidad Sunday Express.

Perhaps most damning is the account from the dismissed acting registrar of the Court, Jamaican Dr Leighton Jackson, who was escorted out of the Court’s Headquarters in May.  Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Merger of US Airways and American Airlines provides one-hundred million potential Barbados visitors. Let’s get to it!

“Since the merger of US Airways and American Airlines the combined number of loyalty members now exceeds 100 million.

Just think if we were able to entice only a tiny percentage of those to our shores!”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While still a month away, September presents one of the most challenging times of the year from a tourism perspective, especially from our second largest market, the United States. With three flights daily – two from Miami and one from New York – unless the scheduled aircraft type is changed that amounts to a total seat capacity of 16,680 in and out for the entire 30 days.

September 2013 recorded the second lowest US long stay visitor arrivals (6,198) for the last eight years, with only 2012 performing worse. Even if you factor in those travelling who are not counted in the landed passenger statistics, you start to get an idea of the problem.

Clearly this massive over-capacity or under-utilisation is not good, either for the airlines or destination, as there is no profit in an empty seat or vacant room.

Is there anything ‘we’ can do?

For many years I have tried to advocate the opportunities that frequent flyer programmes offer. From 7th September until 14th November American Airlines lower their mileage requirement to 25,000 for a return economy ticket from almost any city they service in Continental North America to Barbados.

Of particular interest due to excellent connection times, are cities like Houston and Chicago where published round trip normal fares to Barbados would be at least US$789 and $673 respectively.

Using miles only the add-on taxes are payable which amount to less than US$60 return.

This presents tremendous marketing potential for us to drive additional visitors as we then only have to compete on a ground level basis and with our incredible range of accommodation offerings, this should not be difficult. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Regarding the Silver Point Hotel

To the person who left us the information about the Silver Point Hotel…

Sure. Send us everything. You know us… we’ll publish the story.

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Filed under Barbados

Will Barbados allow this crooked thief to continue as a lawyer?

Therold_Fields Barbados lawyer

Six years ago, foreign national Patricia Simpson complained that her Barbados attorney, Therold Fields, had stolen over half a million dollars from her in a real estate deal. Simpson reported that she gave the money to Fields to pay for real estate and that he simply stole the funds.

This is a common enough scam in Barbados where we have way too many lawyers scrambling for their piece of a very small pie.

Six years ago, and in the typical Bajan legal fashion no conclusion has been reached. Fields is still free to practice law and theft. One would think that good Bajan lawyers would be embarrassed by Mr. Fields’ conduct and moreso by the total lack of progress in righting the wrong.

One would think.

Will Barbados allow this crooked thief to continue as a lawyer?

The odds and past history say “Yes”.

Nation: Lawyer’s fate up to court

BFP: Crooked Barbados Lawyers: Only one arrested, many others allowed to walk free… Why?

Photo of crooked lawyer Therold Fields courtesy of The Nation

 

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Let’s hope Barbados Tourism Marketing does a good job with the Internet

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Trawling through the Internet when it has been available this last week, I have been almost overwhelmed by the sheer number of beautifully presented and creative local world class websites, clearly built by what appear to be mostly small Barbadian entrepreneurs. Often with stunning images both in still and video format, the websites are frequently highlighted by outstanding graphics.

To me it raises the question why any private or public sector entities feel the need to venture overseas for this expertise, which is plainly available on our doorstep.

Follow this to a logical conclusion and it is an absolute wonder why so many websites, especially in tourism, look sad, neglected, out-of date and lack the dynamic attraction that is a prerequisite these days to compete on a global stage.

The quality and resolution of images are especially critical. Thirty plus years ago, as a tour operator, I recall spending hours and sometimes days with renowned photographers attempting to capture the ‘right’ picture that would dominate the front cover of a holiday brochure. These would be placed on the shelves in thousands of travel agents throughout the UK.   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Caribbean Governments must remove laws criminalizing homosexuallity

“Public health academia has known for decades that to effectively curb the global crisis of HIV/AIDS we have to remove institutionalized oppression that re-enforces homophobia. It is not a panacea but it is a major part of the solution…

Twelve of the fifteen CARICOM member states still criminalize homosexuality…

Harassment, silence, intimidation and homophobic laws are a major hindrance on the efficacy of HIV outreach and prevention. It compromises the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

by Sean Macleish for Barbados Free Press

The Caribbean is second in the world to Sub-Saharan Africa in the rate of HIV infection. The primary mode of transmission in the region is heterosexual intercourse with high risk groups to include men who have sex with men (MSM) and there is intersection between the two.

Public health academia has known for decades that to effectively curb the global crisis of HIV/AIDS we have to remove institutionalized oppression that re-enforces homophobia. It is not a panacea but it is a major part of the solution.

Countries that criminalize homosexuality marginalize MSM which pushes them underground and helps to fuel the HIV epidemic. Treating people with dignity and respect facilitates effective HIV education and prevention. It reduces the discrimination many Caribbean Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender experience when accessing health services. Studies and the resulting data have consistently demonstrated that homophobia contributes to higher HIV infection rates and that internalized homophobia also increases your risk of HIV infection.

People who place a high discount rate on their lives tend to participate in higher risk behaviours. The decriminalization of homosexuality to reduce the global crisis of HIV/AIDS is a policy endorsed by the United Nations, World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and many non-governmental organizations. This is the consensual public health approach. Twelve of the fifteen CARICOM member states still criminalize homosexuality as of date.

SVG Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves gets it wrong…   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Health, Human Rights

Afra Raymond: When corrupt politicians reward their supporters with Public Property

afra raymond CMMB

“Given that our political parties receive financing from business-people, how will those party financiers be rewarded?  In a situation which properly controls the award of State contracts for goods, works and services, how can they be rewarded?

The answer is Public Property.”

You must visit Afra’s website and read his post None So Blind.

And while you’re at it, consider the situation in Barbados where it is not unheard of for a Minister of Government to end up living on land that was confiscated from private ownership – supposedly to be used for a public purpose. Nothing was ever done about then BLP Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke, and nothing ever will be…

“No Integrity Legislation exists in Barbados. As a result, powerful Government Ministers like Mr. Clarke do not have to declare their assets or explain how it is that, as a Member of the Cabinet that approves the expropriation of privately-owned lands, a Minister of Government comes to live upon a choice building lot that was forceably taken from an owner – using the full power of the Government.”

… from the BFP article Barbados Government Minister Gline Clarke – House and Mercedes On Expropriated Land

 

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Peter Boos: Barbados current economic state all about poor leadership, zero transparency and a painful business environment

Peter-Boos-Barbados

Financial guru Peter Boos lays it out short and not so sweet at Caribbean360.com.

Here’s a sample…

Why are we not doing better?

There are several structural key performance indicators on which we must all focus before the economy will grow sustainably:

  1. Demand competent leadership in all sectors. Leadership with integrity and a set of shared national values and goals that are inspirational for all and grounded in trustworthiness and competence.
  2. Create a business friendly environment that provides world class competitive business facilitation services. Doing business in Barbados today is painful.
  3. Implement and vastly improve transparency and accountability in Government. The 2012/13 Auditor General’s Report is essential reading and should be discussed publicly and acted on. Mismanagement of public funds is a serious disincentive to taxpayers to pay even more.
  4. Commence a debate on strategic National Governance Reform that eliminates patronage and corruption and engages the full skills base in Barbados on a non-partisan basis.
  5. Reform the Legal Justice System.

We continue to refer to ‘the global recession’ as an excuse for our depressed state. Most of our wounds are self-inflicted.

The solutions are totally within our control. Difficult decisions are needed. Leaders are needed.

Confidence will begin to be restored when we make serious credible efforts to address the five issues above.

… read the entire article at Caribbean360.com Stop blaming the global recession; Barbados’ wounds are self-inflicted

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Economy

Municipal Solid Waste Tax is another attack on a beleaguered Barbados tourism and hotel sector

peach-and-quiet-barbados-cricket.jpg

“What is especially galling is that we are expected to pay this new solid waste tax imposition before we receive the tens of thousands of Dollars we are still owed in NIS and VAT refunds…”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

When my now wife and I ‘discovered’ a then virtually derelict Arawak Inn back in 1988, we never really set out to become seasoned hoteliers. More like having the privilege of living in a big ‘house’ right on the ocean and sharing it with a few friends and the many clients who followed us over the years with our British based tour operators business. Every restored and occupied room was another gallon of paint or new soft furnishing.

Our first major setback came when after paying the initial deposit to buy the hotel, the value of Sterling plummeted from over BDS$4 to the Pound to BDS$2.88 at the time of completion. As all our funds were brought in from overseas, there was no alternative as an option.

Effectively this wrote-off literally every cent we had budgeted for renovation and improvement of the property. As new residents it was virtually impossible to borrow monies from the banks. They wanted a trading record, three years of audited accounts, cash flow forecasts and business plans among many other requirements. Suppliers, with very few notable exceptions, would not grant us credit and so we learnt very quickly, how to not only survive, but flourish and transform the hotel from earned trading revenue.

While easy to say now, in hindsight, it was probably the best thing that happened, leaving us totally debt-free years later.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Prince of Wales who later betrayed his duty, disliked Barbados, found ‘coloured population revolting’. That’s okay, we didn’t care much for racist Edward VIII either!

HMS Renown Barbados

(HMS Renown, Barbados 1919 – click photo for large)

‘There are over 170,000 of them the white population is very small and they aren’t much to look at all too deadly dull and of course depressingly primitive.’

Local scenery ‘ugly’, ‘coloured population revolting’, Barbados a ‘bum place’

… Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, talks about Barbados and Bajans in letters to his friend’s wife in the Mail Online

Royal adulterer wrote to his mistress – who was someone else’s wife

Edward VIII with Mistress, MRS Freda Dudley-Ward and friend, William Dudley-Ward (click for large)

Edward VIII with Mistress, MRS Freda Dudley-Ward and friend, William Dudley-Ward (click for large)

It takes a special kind of man to be photographed with a friend – knowing that you are secretly banging his adulterous wife.

Apparently the spoiled royal brat Edward VIII was that kind of man.

Edward was also a vile racist, according to recently offered letters written by the then Prince of Wales on a goodwill tour to Barbados in 1920.

Concern for his fellow man? Empathy? Ha! When a man was lost at sea on the HMS Renown (history link), Edward wrote to his friend’s wife: “Of course one man’s death means nothing.”

The little shit later went on to abdicate his throne and duty to Britain and the Empire for another piece of quiff – American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

When I think of all the good he could have done in his life, or at least could have tried to do, and how self-centered his choices were – Edward VIII seems nothing but a pathetic excuse for a man.

Reading his letters, as a proud Bajan I can say that Edward VIII wasn’t fit to clean Bajan toilets, let alone be our monarch.

contributed by Passin thru

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History

Harlequin house of cards continues to fall

Dave Ames Harlequin Ponzi

David Ames – Harlequin CEO and Ponzi Scheme King!

Where does one start when considering the sad tale of ‘investors’ who trusted their life savings with the predators working to sell never-to-be-constructed resort units for Harlequin?

These predators (called ‘financial advisors’) received 9 percent of the sale price off the top – and that came from the client’s 30 percent deposit! The clients were not told that about a third of their deposit was going as a sales commission, because that would have been an instant indication to most folks that something was terribly wrong.

Harlequin bastards. Most of the ‘financial advisors’ were unregulated, uninsured and totally unqualified. The ‘investment vehicles’ were different corporations in different countries – obviously created for the sake of confusion, hiding money and avoiding liabilities. Often Harlequin sold units on land that it did not own.

The scams could only have been pulled off with the cooperation of elected and appointed government officials in the different countries.

Harlequin’s ‘business model’ (I use the term with a rising anger) was totally unsustainable and is proof that the whole Harlequin scheme was an intended scam from the start. Like any Ponzi scheme, Harlequin collapsed because payments to previous investors relied upon finding sufficient new suckers to swindle. Once the cracks start to appear and new investors shy away, these types of frauds unravel very quickly.

And so it was, and is, with Harlequin…

UK Financial Ombudsman Service sides with Harlequin victims

The recent Financial Times Advisor article ‘Financial Ombudsman Service – FOS decision on Harlequin must be tip of iceberg‘ tells the story of the next chapter well. One of the profiting scam artists, Harris Knights, has been ordered to compensate a ripped off couple in full…

“… the ombudsman has ordered Harris Knights to take ownership of the Harlequin investment and compensate the couple in full.”

Thailand Court sides with Harlequin Victims   
Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Real Estate

Origins of the Barbados Solid Waste Tax

Barbados Solid Waste Tax (click photo for large)

Hey Boss! I just got a great idea for a new tax!

Our thanks to Bajan Poppets!

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Filed under Barbados, Politics

A camel named Barbados

Barbados Taxes

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, opposition to the new Solid Waste Tax is turning into a national cause – uniting taxpayers across party lines. It may well be the proverbial ‘straw’.

The sight of Opposition Leader Mia Mottley cursing the government for introducing the tax is laughable though – considering that it was Mottley and Arthur and their BLP who robbed de place bare when they were the government. Had the BLP government acted properly when in power, Barbados would be in much better shape today.

We’re broke. Something has to give and both parties are responsible.

But this tax is not going to fly. People haven’t got it, and they can’t pay what they don’t have and won’t ever have.

Freundel Stuart should read some books on what happened 1937.

Different situation, I know, but this kettle is already boiling and the Municipal Solid Waste Tax just turned up the heat.

Thanks to talented artist Connie O’Neill for allowing us to steal her drawing.

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Business & Banking

re-Discover Barbados excellent example of Government & Private Sector cooperation

“As we enter week six since the new launch of the re-DISCOVER restaurant initiative I would like to use this column to publicly thank the Barbados Tourism Authority for their whole-hearted support.

It has been a refreshing revelation and a role model example of how the private and public sector can work successfully together to drive additional business.”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

In tourism, just like many other businesses we talk frequently about the bottom line but do we really pay enough attention to the subject.

For instance, how many hotels have sat down and calculated what difference a ten per cent increase in average annual occupancy and a net rise of US$10 or US$20 per occupied room night would make to their turnover and viability?

To use a simple example of a lower end 100 room hotel with a normal nightly rate of US$100 and currently achieving an annual occupancy level of 50 per cent which is pretty typical of many of our properties – In accommodation revenue alone that would generate US$1.825 million a year. Take that occupancy level to 60 per cent at an average of US$110 per room and immediately turnover climbs to US$2.409 million.

That’s an income differential of US$584,000.

Or US$830,000 if the price rise is US$20 per room per night.   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

How Bridgetown built the economic foundation of the British Empire – only to be discarded when the profits were gone.

Barbados_Slave_License2.jpg

Slavery Reparations have never interested me because I know that whatever we receive will never be enough for the victims class, and that anything we do receive will be stolen by the political class. No reparations will ever touch my hand. No amount of reparations will provide a steady flow of clean water from my pipes or establish a modern sustainable economy.

Britain could pay us 10 billion pounds and not one new hospital bed or surgery will appear at that slum we call the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – or anywhere else. A trillion pounds will not erase the arrogance of government employees towards citizens, nor will it cure the ‘Island Time’ syndrome that makes foreign business investors run like mad from the Caribbean once they get over the rum, sun and sand.

Barbados is incapable of receiving and delivering reparations honestly and effectively for the general good.

Whose fault is that? I’m not sure, but I do know that at one time Barbados was the driving economic force and secure military base that built and maintained the British Empire.

Whatever Tristram Hunt has written in his new book Ten Cities that Made an Empire, he’s probably 50% correct and 50% nonsense. After all this time, who can say?

But I look forward to the read.

Cliverton

Ten Cities that Made an Empire by Tristram Hunt, review: ‘enthralling and compelling’

A fascinating account of 10 cities that were shaped by, and helped shape, British rule

Bridgetown, Barbados has always held a particular appeal for the British. The legacy of empire is all too apparent, and is, indeed, exploited for tourists. The series of historical attractions based on Plantation House present, as Tristram Hunt writes, “a sepia version of the colonial past”. Nostalgia for cricket, rum cocktails and the old plantation lifestyle trumps the blood-drenched history of slavery on the island. Bridgetown is a modern city, but the colonial memory continues to reverberate.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Economy, Human Rights, Slavery

100 Days of LIAT’s new chairman doing nothing

by Aviation Doctor

LIAT released a photo of its new Chairman, David Evans. We couldn't resist adding a few details! *

LIAT released a strangely formated photo of its new Chairman, David Evans. We couldn’t resist adding a few details! *

It has been 100 days since David Evans, the new CEO, has taken over at LIAT and we have seen NO real changes. It is business as usual at LIAT, which means burning taxpayers money – very disappointing. At this time I award a grade of C, at best.

The first 100 days of any CEO are very important to lay out what it is you will do, to let people know where you are heading and what changes are needed. By now Mr. Evans should have a good understanding of what lies ahead, the problems, opportunities, possible approaches and likely obstacles. The quick screen should be done, all problems reduced to simple elements and now zero in on key metrics and detailed analysis.

By now, LIAT’s management, Board and Chairman should have gone from the denial phase, through the resistance phase and be at the acceptance phase, and be on board for on going cost reductions to turn the company around. The CEO needs to be creating excitement and enthusiasm in getting all on board for a brighter future.

IF after 100 days it is not there, then Mr. Evans has lost his momentum, and employees will lose faith in any real change. This time it’s different – the Eastern Caribbean has no money.

“Economic stagnation for 6 years and no one is realizing the fact the Eastern Caribbean has lost its attractiveness as a tourist destination.”

Competition is now not only Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, but also new destinations of Thailand, Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil. The Eastern Caribbean continues to lose its place in the global tourist market.  Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

United Nations says a moderate earthquake or hurricane would destroy 80% of Barbados schools, homes. St. Lucia would lose only 20%.

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010?

What makes you think Barbados would fare better than Haiti did in 2010? 80% of Bajan houses, schools, hotels and public buildings are expected to collapse during a MODERATE hurricane or earthquake! (Source: UN)

Grenville Phillips II sounds the alarm…

… and offers a low cost retro-fit solution for home-owners and government

The Government has indicated that a significant amount of the planned $2.5B new debt is to be used to build new infrastructure. Before spending any of this money on new infrastructure, let me suggest that the Government meaningfully regulate the construction industry.

Having trained over 500 construction personnel around the Caribbean, I can confirm that much of our infrastructure is indeed substandard.  I have spent the past 15 years providing explicit evidence supporting the accurateness of this claim, and while some countries have heeded and improved, Barbados has gone backwards.

The United Nations recently assessed Barbados’ infrastructure and concluded in its Global Assessment Report (2013) that Barbados is expected to suffer probable maximum losses of over 80% of its gross fixed capital formation (buildings, equipment and infrastructure) if we are impacted by a moderate earthquake, or hurricane.  This is the UN’s worst possible assessment category.  For comparison, the UN predicts that neighbouring St Lucia is only expected to suffer probable maximum losses of 10% to 20%.

When will we wake up and realise that we are doing something terribly wrong?  Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Consumer Issues, Disaster, Haiti