Monthly Archives: September 2014

Feelgood start to your day: Bajan teacher meets American guy walking on beach…

Katy Gash Barbados

Katy and Eric Gash live in Hendersonville, North Carolina

Every morning Google Alerts sends us the latest news having anything to do with Barbados, and today the first story just made me smile. A good start to the day, so I thought I’d share it with you…

I was born and raised in the beautiful eastern Caribbean island of Barbados, where instead of having winter, spring, summer and fall, we have just two seasons — hurricane season and dry season. My island is a mere 21 miles long by 14 miles wide, so everyone lives right by the sea. Growing up, we would walk to the beach every weekend, and along the way pick local fruits such as ackees and dunks and tamarinds. I had an amazing childhood!

… continue reading Got A Minute? with Katy Gash

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Filed under Barbados, People

Harlequin’s Merricks Resort “a rotting garbage dump – a liability not an asset”

Merricks Barbados Harlequin Bankruptcy 14Merricks Barbados Harlequin Bankruptcy 12

Why didn’t Barbados obtain completion guarantees backed with performance deposits and bonds?

Our political class, along with Harlequin and other developers, left Bajans holding the bag!

by Old Cutter

What a mess we have with abandoned and “on hold” construction sites and failed projects throughout this country. There is a reason for this and it is not “economic slowdowns” or “unforeseen circumstances”.

“We have these numerous failed project disasters littering our coasts because our DLP and BLP governments allowed unfettered development of our beautiful island by almost anyone that showed up.”

Politicians’ offshore accounts are fat and happy

Our elected representatives stuffed bags of cash into offshore accounts of their “consulting” companies but never acted to protect Barbados from shaky developers.

Our political class never imposed standard contract conditions like performance guarantees and deposits. The big developers hired DLP and BLP friends and family as ‘consultants’ in exchange for building permissions.

“Everybody knows how this place works, and why the political class never voted for Integrity Legislation or assets declarations since Bajan independence almost 50 years ago.”

Harlequin Resorts is just one more failed developer, but they fell in a big way and are worth looking at closely…

As the broader Harlequin Resorts debacle carries on in the courts we see Harlequin suing accountants Wilkins Kennedy and WK countering with accusations of their own, and many other court battles in various stages.

Somewhere in all of that there is a book figure for the value of Harlequin’s assets, including the abandoned Merricks Resort site in Barbados.

Whatever that book figure is for Merricks Resort, a visit to the abandoned construction site reveals a rotting garbage dump that is undoubtedly far less of an asset due to the demolition and environmental cleanup that would be necessary prior to any new activity. Barbados Free Press covered this story a year and a half ago, and the deterioration is easy to see when we compare the photos then and now. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Economy, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Barbados welcomes Chinese money with no cultural or sovereignty concerns

China Barbados Relations Politics

Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, China’s Ambassador to Barbados… and a glass of the good stuff!

Have you noticed how the pro-Bajan culture supporters go silent when China arrives?

“Next year, Ambassador Ke noted, through the diligent efforts made by the two sides, some of the major projects supported by Chinese grants or loans will begin to take shape.”

… Barbados Advocate “Cooperation continues

The same folks in government, politics and finance who warned against British colonisation and American hegemony seem to have no problem with Chinese money pushing Chinese culture and the Communist version of history in Barbados.

Hey… I’m just saying!

Am I wrong?

Talk ya talk…

Cliverton

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Barbados Tourism businesses must get serious about sponsorships!

“2013 ended with the lowest number of stay over visitors for 11 consecutive years. We must do something!”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

When you are working with miniscule marketing budgets, securing sponsorship is absolutely critical to the overall success of most promotions. The secret is to ensure that any sponsor ‘investing’ in a bigger picture project achieves a cost effective return.

That cannot be done without a careful evaluation of potential linkages and mutual benefits.

Quoting from a well known business publication,

“Sponsorship should not be confused with advertising. Advertising is considered a quantitative medium, whereas sponsorship is considered a qualitative medium.”

Beneficial partnerships can add tremendous value and credibility, especially if increased sales and market share can be directly measured to the strategic alliance. It also makes it far more likely that the sponsor would be willing to support future ventures.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Bajan Poppets consider Al Barrack

Al Barrack Barbados

(Thanks to Bajan Poppets facebook)

Reason #275 why doing business with the Barbados Government like having a pet viper!

“Beware when you do business with the government of Barbados, because the court is the government and the government is the court.”

by Nevermind Kurt

by Nevermind Kurt

Remember Al Barrack? The Barbados government owes him BDS$77 million dollars plus for almost ten years, but won’t pay him.

Sure, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart promised to pay Al Barrack in November 2012, but Stuart lied pure and simple. The DLP government is really just waiting until Al Barrack dies. That’s the usual strategy of Bajan governments both DLP and BLP when the court orders the government to pay big damages or do something about a court judgement: just ignore the court order and wait until the poor bastard dies. Government squelches any effective news coverage through the expedient tactic of providing government advertising funds to local news media.

Hell, it’s worked since 1900 as a legal tactic to delay the court and to keep the press in line… so why shouldn’t the same tactic continue to work? It’s worked fine to handle Al Barrack so far!

Former PM Owen Arthur awarded "no tender" contract to Barrack.

PM Owen Arthur awarded “no tender” contract to Barrack.

You see, the BLP Owen Arthur government granted a $100 million dollar contract to Al Barrack to build a government office building – nevermind that Barrack had never done much more as a builder than to renovate some washrooms. (Okay, okay, that’s an exaggeration, but Al Barrack had never built anything remotely as large as the office building the BLP government contracted him for.)

Al Barrack reduced to this to try and have the government obey the court.

Al Barrack reduced to this to try and have the government obey the court. That’s Al dressed in white-face and carrying a placard sign. Poor bastard!

Oh… Did we mention that there was no tender?

That’s right folks, Barrack was simply awarded a 100 million dollar contract on the basis of his… what? His smile? His ability to sing? His reverse Al Jolson talents? (I’d walk a million miles for one of your smiles…) His Barbados Labour Party membership? (I choose #4… BLP membership!) Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Kathy and Henderson Nicholls – still happy and working hard

Barbados Mixed Marriage

A little over four years ago, Marcus did a story about Kathy Rockel, a white girl from Colorado USA who came to Barbados as part of a medical-transcription business. The business eventually went bust because Barbados just couldn’t compete competitively in the world market against places like India where people work for money that wouldn’t even buy food here.

Kathy and Henderson in 2010

Kathy and Henderson in 2010

But the focus of BFP’s story about Kathy is that while in Barbados she met and fell in love with Henderson Nicholls – a Bajan who follows the Rastafarian faith. They married and off they went to the USA.

I wondered how they were doing these years later. After all, about 50% of marriages fail anyway, nevermind the different races, religions and cultures between Kathy and Henderson.

So how are they doing?

Fine. Ever so fine!

Good for them. There is hope in the world.

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Race

Another ‘driver lost control’ Barbados bus accident

Barbados bus accident

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Another top-heavy Transport Bus overturns as the driver loses control.

We could write the same article over and over again, but instead we’ll direct you to the newspaper account of today’s accident, and to an article BFP published last June 19 2014 about the ongoing problem.

Nation News: Transport Bus Overturns
Barbados Today: Bus overturns in St. Philip  (Thanks to Barbados Today for the use of the photo)

“Perhaps the newspapers should reserve a space on the front page of the Saturday edition each week to feature a photo of the latest bus on its side while emergency personnel lift casualties from the wreck.”

… from the June 19, 2014 article below:

Barbados Free Press

Previous accident: Drivers should be careful not to apply de brakes too hard as the wheels are only semi-attached to the bus! Previous accident: Drivers should be careful not to apply de brakes too hard as de wheels are only semi-attached to the bus!

Overloaded, top-heavy, too fast, poorly maintained

It is becoming a weekly news story: “Bus driver loses control, (insert number) Injured.” This week’s accident is reported in Barbados Today as 13 injured in bus accident in St. George. Oh… wait… that was last week’s accident at Taitts Road with Cenetta Bennett driving. The driver in this week’s accident at Rowans Road is ‘R. Headley’: 13 hurt in bus accident.

Perhaps the newspapers should reserve a space on the front page of the Saturday edition each week to feature a photo of the latest bus on its side while emergency personnel lift casualties from the wreck. Even the tourists write with horror about taking the bus. The latest TripAdvisor story on Barbados buses asks What drugs are the…

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When should you beat your wife? There’s an iPhone App for that!

There has been a whole lot of talk on our article “Muslim-only housing development in Barbados” with people giving this opinion and that opinion about what Islam is, says and does. So we thought we’d re-publish a few articles that let the Koran speak for itself. Here’s one on when and how men should beat their wives.

“Thanks to the Apple iPhone though, I now have a guide to when it is permissible and advisable to discipline and even beat my wife. This is not something I’m taking lightly, so I did my research and I’ve found an iPhone App that deals with this important question: When should you beat your wife?”

Barbados Free Press

by ‘Thomas the plumber’

The Apple iPhone is an amazing piece of technology. Anything you want to know, you’ve got it in your hand with just a few queries. Last month in the middle of installing a sink I found that the new (EU) standard connector wouldn’t marry up with the 70 year old pipes I was dealing with. (I hate renovations. Give me new construction anytime!) What to do? Easy! Within a couple of minutes I was off to the store for the exact parts I needed for the transition… thanks to iPhone and Google.

Google is one thing, but iPhone apps take being a plumber to a whole new level. With Plumber Pro, I manage all my jobs, my clients, issue hourly and parts invoices, send estimates and process credit cards for smaller jobs. All from my iPhone. At the end of the week I send the…

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Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur forgets BLP’s neglect and mismanagement of Barbados environment

Owen Arthur Lied Barbados

“We have to protect our marine environment. We have to address drainage issues and get a sensible environmental levy and put it in place based upon ‘the polluter pays principle’.”

Former PM Owen Arthur talks to Barbados Today

Wuhloss! I couldn’t believe what I was reading in Barbados Today from Owen Arthur – our Prime Minister for 14 years from 1994 to 2008.

Owen Arthur better than anybody knows what a disaster his government and leadership was for the Barbados environment. He and his government’s corruption misappropriated millions upon millions of dollars from the public coffers – money that could have been used to maintain this island’s environment. You know… the environment; the beaches, the reefs, the water, the wetlands and gullies. All those natural areas that make Barbados special and keep the tourists coming to support our national economy.

Prime Minister Arthur could have done so much for the environment during his 14 years in power, but no… Owen Arthur and his government only paid lip service to the foundation of our economy and of our quality of life – which is why I cannot let Owen Arthur get away with his recent outrageously false statements about how much his BLP government achieved in the area of the environment.
Continue reading

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Filed under Environment, Politics & Corruption, Barbados, Political Corruption, Corruption

Re-Discover Rewards campaign attracting and keeping tourists

re-discover barbados

Going Local helps tourists get value – and keeps Bajans employed

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While I can see the attraction of corporate Barbados offering Caribbean cruises as competition prizes or sales inducements, it is difficult to accept what if any real benefit the country gleans from the exercise. Payment almost certainly would ultimately be made in foreign currency (FX) to ship operators who legally avoid any significant taxation and largely employ extra regional crew.

We have been heartened at the initial response to recent launch of re-DISCOVER REWARDS vouchers by local companies – especially as many of those who have responded are looking at it from a national perspective. These businesses have made a considered decision to help protect Barbadian jobs, whether directly in the hospitality industry or sub-sectors like agricultural, food and wine distribution. Many of the participating restaurants have also made a conscious effort to use locally available produce, which again helps retain the foreign exchange and hopefully spread earned revenue right across the society.

While not wanting to use this column for propaganda or promotion, I just wonder how many people have figured out that this initiative is (to the best of my belief) absolutely unique across the Caribbean. It is a point that has not gone unnoticed by both our tourism planners and potential visitors to Barbados.

It was truly heart warming to receive a social media posting recently from a professor in Canada, who stated that one of the deciding factors why they chose Barbados over another Caribbean island was the fact they could eat every night of their stay at a different affordable restaurant, even over a three week stay.

Part of the battle is persuading the yet to be convinced various dining establishments to understand the concept. As with all businesses, there are fixed costs regardless of the number of customers. The first ten patrons per night at a set menu price perhaps will not be the most profitable, but they help negate those otherwise irrecoverable overheads. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Muslim-only housing development in Barbados. No Christians or Jews allowed to purchase homes in new community.

Muslim Barbados housing

Muslim Association says “Barbadians have nothing to fear.” (What a statement!)

Is this what we want for our Barbados?

It's not a real sign, but it might as well be!

It’s not a real sign, but it might as well be!

One can only imagine the howls of outrage if a construction company announced that only Christians would be allowed to purchase new homes in a brand new Bajan subdivision… and rightly so. Can you imagine on a sign “No Muslim Buyers Allowed” ???

Yet this is exactly what our political class has agreed to in relation to Bajan Christians and Jews when it issued building permissions to the Muslim organisations involved in building Barbados’ newest housing development.

After hundreds of years of slavery, and then another hundred years of colonisation, exclusion and segregation based upon race, skin colour and class, ordinary Barbadians do not take kindly to being told they are not eligible to purchase a home because they are not of the proper religion. Bajans do not like being told that they are second class citizens in their own country.

The message from the Muslim spokespersons that “Barbadians have nothing to fear” is a statement that these people consider themselves to be outside of the wide and inclusive Barbados citizenship and community. Is this what we want for our Barbados?

Muslims wish to self-enclave, to not be part of the wider Bajan community

Muslim schools in Barbados teach our young people that “Hijab is compulsory… hide woman’s beauty as protection from rape” and “Beheading, chopping off your hands, severe beatings are Islamic rules, nothing wrong in it” (See BFP’s article about the Muslim Girls School.)

There can be no debate that these Islamic values and teachings are anti-Bajan, and destructive to our national character. They are against everything that this country stands for. Muslim teaching about the value of women is stuck somewhere before the dark-ages, but for some reason liberals excuse the fact that the Koran not only allows, but instructs, husbands to physically discipline their wives.

Yet, our so-called political leadership has agreed to allow the establishment of a community that excludes ordinary Bajans and upholds values that are foreign and destructive to our nation.

This is a dangerous precedent that weakens Barbados and undermines everything we have struggled for in the past 150 years. By all means, let people believe what they want to believe no matter how vile or outrageous. Freedom and democracy demands tolerance. But we draw the line when our government gives approval and support to an exclusionary enclave based upon religion and values that are in total opposition to the Bajan culture and national character.

I wonder: what would Bussa think of this?

From The Nation newspaper. We have to reprint it all because that newspaper has a habit of revising history:

HOUSING VENTURE

A new community exclusively for Muslims has been started at Clermont, St James.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Religion

Answering Loveridge about Barbados tax concessions to Sandals

Sandals' Butch Stewart doesn't look like he's starving to death.

Sandals’ Butch Stewart doesn’t look like he’s starving to death.

by William Skinner

The granting of concessions to the hoteliers is a capitulation on the part of the Barbados government, which now finds itself with a one step forward two steps backward economic policy; trying to please an essentially lazy and backward corporate class while inflicting serious blows on the already poor and economically downtrodden.

The hoteliers in Barbados have clearly demonstrated that they have failed to capitalize on an industry that has been in existence for over sixty years. They have whined their way into the taxpayers coffers, on the spurious grounds that the concessions granted to the well established Sandals Group should be automatically theirs for the taking.  In other words, while very few of them can ever boast or hope to come close, to demonstrating that they can ever reach Sandals’ heights, they have blackmailed the government into giving them similar benefits. It’s akin to a fourth division footballer demanding the same salary and perks of a first division superstar!

Be that as it may, they have also refused to sign on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be used to monitor  they operating in good faith with the agricultural community and other businesses , to ensure that the process is not exploited. In other words, the government wanted some formal agreement that the benefits will trickle down to local businesses. Low and behold, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) said that it will not sign any MOU. Imagine a beggar being so bold faced, to be a chooser as well! It was very pitiful and embarrassing to witness a minister backing down from this group.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

The Bajan way? Set the house on fire – shoot the intended victim when they try to put out the fire

Neipaul Trotman beach murder Barbados

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Or should I say “Dear Lord, OH LORD!”

Is there something I’m missing about living on this rock? Have you ever seen and heard of so much violence?

Neipaul Trotman (above) is shot and murdered at Fitts Beach in broad daylight at 11am while playing with his infant son. A dozen tourists witness his execution. Then a day or two later Cyprian Payne was sleeping when somebody firebombed the home. The man comes out to fight the fire and is shot numerous times, and is hanging onto his life by a thread at the hospital.

We built a pedestrian overpass at The Pine so that folks could safely cross the ABC highway and now thugs are throwing concrete building blocks onto the vehicles below. There have been several serious incidents and injured motorists.

A week ago Dwayne Johnson was traveling in a ZR van when he had words with another man. Only words. That man shot him in the back right in the ZR van!

Am I going crazy, or is this island going crazy? It never used to be like this.

Yours truly,

Mr. Meters.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

Afra Raymond talks about Corruption and Citizenship at The Cloth Propaganda Space

by Afra Raymond

The ‘Unconquered‘ discussion series is hosted by Robert Young’s The Cloth at #24 Erthig Road, Belmont…Attilah Springer – aka Tillah Willah – is one of the livewires driving this initiative…

I was invited by Tillah to speak at the ‘Conscious Citizenship‘ meeting on Wednesday 13th August 2014, along with Dr. Kevin Adonis Browne, author of the searching new work ‘Tropic Tendencies’…the session was both heated and edifying…it was real, even when Browne ramoujayed on rhetoric!

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Filed under Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago

Tourism businesses must do more to help themselves

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While this may not be universally accepted by all, can and should the private sector tourism industry do more to help itself?

The simple answer must be yes!

I firmly believe there are so many more ways that we can build smart partnerships to build our destination awareness in all the key markets.

As an example, many years ago we persuaded the three largest villa rental agencies to jointly produce a full page ‘ad’ that appeared in leading travel magazines like Caribbean Travel and Life. By collectively sharing the costs they were able to attract an audience that would have been price inhibitive if attempted individually.

As first you may think that you were collaborating with the ‘enemy’ and handing valuable business to your competition, but in today’s reality the consumer is savvy and well informed. They can make a defined choice based on their own preferences.

There would be nothing stopping our car rental agencies, major attractions and small hotels doing exactly the same and ideally, in one concerted effort, together.  Continue reading

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Boycott LIAT for a day

Robert Pitcher Barbados LIAT

Fun N’ Sun publisher Robert Pitcher is calling upon Bajans and people throughout the Caribbean to boycott LIAT Airlines for a day in protest of the airline’s high fares and low-quality service.

That’s all well and good, but the real question is: Should Barbados and other governments be involved in the airline business at all – especially when LIAT hasn’t made a dollar profit since it was founded?

If there is one thing we’ve proved over the last 100 years, it is that governments cannot run businesses in a profitable manner. It is impossible.

What governments can do though, is to subsidise government businesses so that they squeeze out all privately-owned competition. Can we say “RedJET” ?

In our past, a case could be made for a government subsidised national or Caribbean airline to bring tourists, business people and trade from over and away and also island hopping. With the explosion of affordable air travel this is no longer a necessity… and if we choose to subsidise air travel to the island, it is much easier to give money to Virgin Air than to run our own airline.

It’s time to kill LIAT dead dead dead.

Pitcher: Avoid LIAT

BOYCOTT LIAT FOR a day.

That’s what publisher Robert Pitcher is calling on the regional public to do to send a clear message to the airline that they are fed up with its high airfares and poor quality service.

He also advised the regional governments looking to invest in the island hopping airline to keep it afloat not to put a cent into it until it changes its board, which he contends, is not suited to oversee the affairs of running a modern airline.

Instead, a group of successful Caribbean businessmen from the separate territories should be appointed to the board with a Caribbean chief executive officer at the helm who understands the market.

Speaking at a press conference at his Rendezvous Gardens, Christ Church offices this morning, Pitcher a director of Fun N’ Sun publishing, also took issue with the announcement that LIAT would be flying to Haiti four times weekly from December.

Pitcher said presently the airline cannot even service their existing routes efficiently and this move would be to a country where loads would be doubtful, similar to the unsuccessful route to the Dominican Republic.

… read the rest of this article at the Nation Pitcher: Avoid LIAT

Thanks to an old friend for suggesting this article!

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Political bias undermines the integrity of the University of the West Indies

Open letter to Matthew Peters, President UWI Student Guild, St Augustine campus

“The fact that you could openly admit that there were persons with whom you surround yourself, who flagrantly scorned the inclusion of any government member in the panel, clearly reflects a bias in your organizing committee.”

Mr. Matthew Peters
President
Student Guild
The University of the West Indies – St. Augustine Campus

Dear Mr. Peters,

An Election Poster by any name! (click for large)

An Election Poster by any name! (click for large)

I do hope that this email does not intimidate you in any way, but as many of the persons copied can attest to, this style of ‘blogging’ has become a habit of mine in an effort to transport the art of debating into the 21st century. I would also like you to know that I have blind-copied government officials in this email as well, however, following the cause célèbre that was ’emailgate’ I feel it is now necessary to preserve the identity of these email addresses lest another unfortunate incident such as that should fabricate.

It is actually in keeping with this philosophy that I approached your good self that fateful evening, only yesterday, to convey my opinion of your planned forum on the proposed budget currently being debated in the august halls of Parliament. Now for those who may not already be aware, The Student Guild at The UWI St. Augustine Campus in conjunction with the ‘Heliconia Foundation for Young Professionals PNM Youth League’ (sic), will be hosting a Post Budget Forum on Wednesday 17th September, 2014. This forum, which is being held on campus, will feature the following panelists:

  • Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Diego Martin West;
  • Dr. the Hon. Lester Henry – Opposition Senator;
  • Mr. Matthew Peters – President of the Student Guild; and
  • Ms. Melissa Pulchan – Youth Speaker.

I had previously been unaware of the event when I happened to glimpse the handbill fluttering upon the wall it was hastily stuck against, as if trying to escape its glue-bound confinement. Upon further inspection I experienced an agglomeration of emotion all attacking me at once, while simultaneously wondering if it was real. To my dread, indeed it was real, a printed notification announcing a political meeting to be held in the once hallowed and respected halls of The UWI campus under the guise of academic forum. One need only to examine any of the dozens of flyers currently littering the hallways on campus to arrive at this determination. For those unable to do so in person however, I submit a photo of the flyer, attached to this email, for your own perusal.

Why would the picture of Hon. Dr. Rowley, featured across a quarter of the face,  so glamorously display his balisier tie, given that it’s the PNM’s official logo? Why else would the panel consist of only members of the PNM? And why collaborate with the Heliconia Foundation, which is rooted firmly within the ambit of the PNM? If there was any doubt that the PNM propaganda machine had been stagnating, this clearly proves otherwise. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Education, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Barbados hotel investment collapsing as government concessions to Sandals set the expected standard

level-playing-field

Barbados tourism investment ‘level playing field’

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It reminds me a little of the rather repetitive ‘ad’ aired on local radio, ‘how low can you go’. There are almost always consequences for the failure to implement policies and address the overwhelming concerns of an entire industry.

Therefore it was inevitable that it would manifest itself in the shortest possible time. The Daily Nation article published last week ‘Jobs on Hold’ graphically demonstrates the dangers of attempting to invest, upgrade and re-open one of our many closed hotels, in a climate that lacks a level playing field.

If the reporting was accurate, then a potential 320 jobs, $4 million refurbishment plan, $5 million in foreign exchange and getting 145 improved rooms back into the marketplace for the upcoming critical winter season is now beyond possibility. That could represent a further loss of almost 300 airline seats per week, which may play a crucial part in helping fill and ensuring the sustainability of the two new Delta flights from Atlanta and New York starting early December.

An enhanced Amaryllis would have also helped bridge the gap of product quality offerings from when Sandals is scheduled to re-open its doors in late January 2015.

What I find so incredulous is that did our policymakers not think through that no substantive investor in their right mind would speculate millions of dollars into new or improved plant, before having in place the unimpeded similar concessions that Sandals extracted.

I also think that as a matter of urgency, some analysis needs to be done by the Central Bank of Barbados to see in ‘real’ terms if foreign exchange generated by our accommodation sector, that is retained in the country has fallen in a desperate attempt to replicate Sandals policy of collecting revenue offshore.

If in fact this figure is down there will be further negative implications in terms of taxation collected and payable to Government through VAT and any corporate taxes payable.

These issues have to be addressed now if there is any realistic chance in returning our tourism sector to growth and lifting it out of the current prolonged period of arrival numbers stagnation.

The longer the administration delays universal implementation of all the pledged concessions, the closer is the risk that more hotels will close.

As a destination, we currently hold the record for the most failed tourism accommodation properties within the Caribbean.

Later this week the Minister of Finance has kindly consented to address the third quarterly meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association. It would seem like this would be an ideal forum to declare that the promised ‘permanent’ legislation is now in place. Only then can the entire industry start rebuilding a sector that clearly is experiencing prolonged and severe distress.

Using the Minister’s own recent ‘instant coffee society’ analogy, as the pot has been on the boil so long already and the expectations have evaporated, it will not be the beverage of choice for me this Thursday.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy