Monthly Archives: November 2014

Looking ahead to Barbados 50th Independence Celebration

barbados wave flag

In plenty and in time of need…

For all our current economic problems and the failures of a corrupt political class to provide principled, unselfish leadership over the decades, Barbados on our 48th National Independence Day is still a country and a society to be envied.

Millions of people from countries around the world would get down on their knees and thank God if they were blessed enough to have had their navel string buried in Bajan soil. Stand still anywhere on this island for ten minutes and take it all in: even inner B’town’s worst is only a short walk from the salt water and beauty.

And isn’t that the truth? No matter where you are in Barbados you are only a minute or two from beauty the likes of which people from other countries spend thousands of dollars to see and experience for a few days.

The beauty of these fields and hills though, is nothing compared with the beauty of our people, our children and the ordinary folk who give Bim its character and reality.

It is true that we should be worried about the excesses of celebration for lowered achievements and about some of the youth whose activities could not be more ‘un-Bajan’ – but despite these things, can you not ask for assistance from a stranger on this island and still receive a helping hand? Of course you can!

Try that in New Jersey, or Soho. Been there, “have the t-shirt” as they say.

We naturally focus upon the decades, and our 48th anniversary is an uninspiring number compared to our 45th or our 40th. Remember our 30th? Remember the rains and no one cared? Soaked or not the party went on for three days. A bit different from these last two days, yes?

Admittedly things back then looked a bit brighter economically, but it was more than that: the mood was about us as a nation, about our wonderfully rosy future. About us as a people.

A short two years from now and we will be facing our 50th year as an independent, fully sovereign nation.

The question we should be asking ourselves now is not “How shall we celebrate our 50th?”, but “What do we want Barbados to be on our 50th, and what should we do to reach that goal?”

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Filed under Barbados, History

Afra Raymond: Tendering process for Invader’s Bay improper, illegal

invaders bay Trinidad

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

The proposed development of Invader’s Bay will be the largest in our Capital City in living memory. The entire process is tainted by fundamental irregularities, any one of which ought to be enough to stop the development.

Some of those irregularities at Invader’s Bay include an improper and voidable tendering process; failure or refusal to hold Public Consultations; breach of the Central Tenders’ Board (CTB) Act and most recently, a wrong-sided policy on legal advice.

The State has appealed the High Court decision of Justice Frank Seepersad on 14 July 2014 to order publication of the legal opinions on which they had been relying thus far. That hearing is now set for Wednesday 28 January 2015 at the Appeal Court in POS. At the preliminary hearing on Thursday 20 November, the State was represented by a seven-member team of attorneys, led by Russell Martineau SC.

Tender rules

Minister Tewarie has repeatedly told the public that the Appraisal rules for the Invader’s Bay development were first announced in his speech to the Annual Dinner of the T&T Contractors’ Association on Saturday 5 November 2011. That is true, I was there and heard the Minister do just as he said. The issue here is that the closing-date stipulated in the Invader’s Bay Request for Proposals (RFP) was 4 October 2011, which was over one month before the rules were published. Given that fact, the proposers would not have known the rules of the competition and it is fair to say there was no competition at all.  None. Just imagine the rules for a Calypso competition being distributed the week after the singers had performed. The RFP process for Invader’s Bay was therefore improper, voidable and illegal.

... continue reading Invader’s Bay – Suspicious Motives

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

Customer retention: a skill that Barbados and Barbadians should master

Barbados Hills View

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While it may initially seem off-topic, I wonder if we could better apply the same concept to tourism. Out of the blue I took a call recently from our television network provider. A nice lady stated that as we had been customers for ten years that they were going to give us a month’s trial of a movie channel and a 20 per discount off our normally monthly subscription fee for the next six months. OK the amounts involved are not huge, but it was the thought of rewarding people for remaining loyal.

The exact opposite position has been imposed by one of the leading telecommunications companies recently, who plan to levy a fee for the ‘privilege’ of sending you a paper bill. After being virtually forced to accept, what at many times can only be described as atrocious service over a prolonged period, their idea of a ‘reward’ is to impose more spurious charges, rather that compensating users for what has clearly been the delivery of a sub-standard utility provision.

Which of these two options is more likely to retain brand loyalty?

I suspect most people would not hesitate to voice their opinion.   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Barbados Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite is a LIAR

Adriel Brathwaite Barbados

It’s an old story, an old lie, but it’s still true that Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and his DLP gang lied to get elected and then lied again to get re-elected.

They said they would put Conflict of Interest rules in place immediately upon election. They lied.

They said they would pass Integrity Legislation within 100 days of election. They lied.

They said they would pass Freedom of Information laws. They lied.

Brathwaite is a liar.

And we’re going to continue telling like it is.

Come and get us Brathwaite. YOU ARE A DAMNED LIAR.

And here’s the proof…

Barbados Attorney General admits Integrity Legislation is dead, dead, dead

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Government, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Trinidad Islamic Coup – July 27, 1990

Nothing has changed.

Strike that.

The 2014 Muslim Jihad is much, much worse around the world.

But the 1990 Trinidad Jihad was a warning.

 

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Filed under History, Human Rights, Religion

Friday night Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay all over the world

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Filed under Barbados, Music

Will falling oil prices result in lower airfares? Barbados hopes so!

Barbados Virgin 747-400

Twenty years of Advanced Passenger Duty

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It seems almost inconceivable to accept that the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty) was implemented in the United Kingdom, or others would say thrust upon the industry, some twenty years ago.

There has been a lot of recent misinformation spread in the media, so I think it is time to clarify just exactly what is happening. From 1st April 2015, the two higher mileage bands, C and D will be abolished and flights from the UK will then be included in band B at an APD rate of GB Pounds 71 per passenger for economy and GBPounds 142 for higher classes of travel.

Many are watching to see if the reduced aviation fuel costs with the continuing plummeting fall in oil prices, together with a slightly lower APD rate will be reflected in the cost of airfares from next April.

There are other glimmers of hope on the horizon including a strong lobby to have APD removed, or at least lowered on airline tickets for children. Personally I believe it would make a massive difference for families contemplating holidays in the Caribbean, especially during the softer summer months.

Scotland the Brave    Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Why weren’t charges laid in attack upon Barbados Immigration Officer?

walter maloney Barbados

We might be wrong here, folks. We HOPE that we are wrong.

BUT… we have two people telling us that a foreigner punched out a Bajan Immigration officer at the airport …. and that management backed away and laid no charges. The Immigration officer is still on sick leave but no charges were laid.

WTF?

Yes. Exactly.

President of the National Union of Public Workers Walter Maloney confirmed much of the story at a symposium at Workplace Violence Awareness Day.

So what is the story? Let’s hear it!

above: Walter “lots of excuses” Maloney; President of the National Union of Public Punching Bags.

Go figure… Immigration officer attacked 

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Business, Environment, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Grenada, Immigration

How government will use Barbados Water Authority smart meters to identify tax cheats

“This is a search on of your private life, showing your personal living patterns everyday – without a warrant. Your information going out to the Barbados Water Authority, the government, the police, the insurance company; to anyone who cuts a deal with the Barbados Water Authority now or in the future.”

Yes, my friends: that BWA smart meter is part of the government data-gathering and analysis system used to identify tax cheats (and for other purposes too.)”

Smart Meters a little too smart?

Back in 2011 Barbados Free Press published Smart Meters are Surveillance Devices – Data already used by police. Since that time there have been dozens of articles by major news outlets about privacy concerns with not only water and power smart meters, but also with the rise of the internet-connected home automation and camera systems.

While the use of internet motion detection / video-camera systems and online home appliances is a choice, the installation of smart meters is mandated by the government.  And what does the BWA and the government do with the data that they collect every second? They do anything they want with that data because there are no laws against it.

Who says BWA smart meters can identify tax cheats? The technology suppliers – that’s who…

Cowater International Inc. and Sogema Technologies Inc. are the two international corporations at the top end of the US$24.7 million dollar smart meter deal with the Barbados Water Authority. The Barbados government says the total cost of the project will be US$58 million dollars.

With subsidies from the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the BWA will install almost 100,000 smart water meters on this rock and the computers and software to monitor, administer and control the system.

Commercial clients are the priority, but eventually every home will have a smart meter too. Every one of those 98,800 household smart meters will supply a wealth of data that can be married up with other data to show patterns of behaviour, associations and reveal information that never would have been noticed before. BWA data will be consolidated with other private and government data sources.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Economy, Ethics, Human Rights, Police

Dead sheep dumped by side of road: What a Shameful Mess!

Barbados environment dead sheep dumping

A dead sheep dumped in Pine Commercial close to Pine Hill Dairy at the side of the road. Yet, we live in a country that is reluctant to fine illegal dumpers. It is a sad state of affairs.

“I’m guessing a visitor/tourist did this, because No Proud, Industrious Bajan would do this, surely!”

… comment on Keep Barbados Beautiful facebook

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Environment

Almost one year since Forbes called Barbados ‘Cyprus West’ – have we changed for the better?

Barbados Finance Minister Sinckler

Has Finance Minister Sinckler done the right thing… or is the situation so far out of hand that no government could be effective now?

Barbados, “the Jewel of the Caribbean,” the tiny easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles with 288,000 year-around inhabitants and lots of very rich foreign visitors and investors, is in the throes of a financial meltdown.

While its entire GDP is now only worth about $4.2 billion, and its population is smaller than that of Duluth Minnesota, this crisis is worth examining closely. For here we have a very precise example of the “finance curse,” where excessive dependence on high debt, an aggressive offshore haven industry, very low tax rates for high-net worth investors, foreign companies, and banks, and high tax rates for everyone else, have essentially brought this little country to its knees.

… from the December 2013 Forbes online article Postcard From Barbados — a.k.a. ‘Cyprus West’

See BFP’s January 2014 article Happy New Year 2014: Forbes announces that Barbados is on its knees, in a financial meltdown.

 

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Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Economy, Offshore Investments

So many questions about LIAT Airlines – so few answers from LIAT or governments

LIAT Airline hangar fire destroyed financial & aircraft records.

LIAT Airline hangar fire destroyed financial & aircraft records.

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

As someone who has championed intra Caribbean travel for over 40 years and invested literally hundreds of thousands of Dollars of our own money promoting, what for Barbados is still just about our third largest source market, it gives me no pleasure in witnessing the dramatic decline in regional arrival numbers.

For the first eight months of this year our Caricom (including Trinidad and Tobago) stay over visitors are down by 6,686 persons.

There is probably very little I can add to the many industry professionals and travellers comments made about LIAT over the years, but initially thought that I had misheard one of our policymakers recently stating that, among the reasons why the numbers were down, was due to the airline operating smaller aircraft.

“A number of aircraft are still listed as ‘stored’. Did the destruction of engineering, maintenance and other critical records in the hangar fire prevent the saleable realisation of these assets?”

It sounded so wrong that I looked up a recognised aircraft fleet website and according to Planespotters LIAT currently operate 4 ATR (Avions de Transport Regional) 42-600’s, 4 ATR 72-600 planes and a yet to be confirmed number of Bombardier/de Havilland Dash 8 – 300 equipment.

I did ask LIAT’s Head of Corporate Communications for clarification, but in the week until this column was published, had not heard back. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Government corruption in St. Vincent – remembering the Ruben Morgan cocaine smuggling affair

SVG Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan

SVG Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan

Remember the case of the man Ruben Morgan, a relative of Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan? He was given a diplomatic passport in 2001. He was not a Vincentian diplomat, he did not work for the government, yet he was given a diplomatic passport.

In 2004, he was travelling to a family affair in the UK. Judith Jones-Morgan was travelling to the same family affair, but on a different flight. Ruben Morgan was caught at a London airport carrying one kilo of cocaine. Because he was travelling on an SVG diplomatic passport he was sent packing back to SVG. A kilo of cocaine in the UK usually earns you a ten to twenty year jail sentence. The man had a Canadian passport and a normal Vincentian passport, but he chose to travel on his SVG diplomatic passport. When he got back to SVG he was not charged here for anything. He went scot-free, no charges were brought.

That in mind and in my opinion was a blatant case of perverting the course of justice. Perhaps the people who arranged for, and gave him such a right to have a diplomatic passport should also have been charged.

These things are being done on a regular basis, why are the done? Because they know they can do it and no Vincentian will lift a finger or complain. They know that no other country is going to reprimand them. They know that, if they prosecute and lock up their supporters and those they identify as the ULP family, just about the whole ULP party membership, perhaps much of the judiciary will be in clink, in prison. They know that once they let those people off the crime, those people will owe their minds and souls to the party and its dirty leadership.

For more stories of SVG government corruption see the latest from Peter Binose Once upon a crime in St Vincent and the Grenadines

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Filed under Corruption, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics & Corruption

Wycliffe Hall Oxford University looking for a portrait of Lodge School principal Harry Beaujon Gooding

Oxford Wycliffe Hall

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I am Clerk of Works at Wycliffe Hall, a theological college, part of Oxford University, England.

I am undertaking a project to have all our former principals portraits hung in our main foyer. I have been unable to locate any portrait of Harry Beaujon Gooding who I believe was a former principal at the Lodge School, Barbados.

I have been unable to contact the Lodge School, and would appreciate assistance.

Kind regards

Phil

Phil Chapman
Clerk of Works
Wycliffe Hall
52-54 Banbury Road
Oxford
OX2 6PW
Tel: 01865 274219
E-mail: maintenance (AT) wycliffe.ox.ac.uk

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Filed under Barbados, Education, History

Does Barbados have a problem in Atlanta, Georgia?

“I have always thought if we cannot entice 320 new visitors (two full B737-800 aircraft) a week out of a population of six million who live within an hour’s drive of Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport, then we have a problem.”

November tourism stats will tell all!

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

November, I believe, will be the first litmus test month of whether or not any changes that have been taking place over this year in the marketing of Barbados will indicate any recovery of long stay visitor numbers to our shores.

November 2013 recorded a total of 42,690 stay-over arrivals, which was the lowest for that month during the last 11 years. Three out of four major markets showed a decline, USA down 745, Canada down 49 and the UK down 56 persons.

2014 heralds the hosting of the fifth Barbados Food Wine and Rum Festival and by now there should be some effective way of measuring if this event has been growing sufficiently to ensure that the promotion funds ‘invested’ are producing a justifiable return on investment.

Clearly overall arrival numbers do not indicate this, or if they are, then it’s to the detriment of other periods of the month.

From next month Delta Airlines return from Atlanta and operate a new route from JFK/New York. These flights will provide an additional seating capacity of 640 passengers per week alone.

Air Canada will shortly change aircraft type to B777 on the Toronto service which adds over 1,000 seats each week if comparing with the smaller A319.

“Based on December 2013 arrivals figures (51,027 across all markets), which again were the lowest for that month in eleven consecutive years we need to record a near 37 per cent increase solely out of North America during December 2014, if we stand any hope of filling those extra seats.”

And that is before we even look at any added capacity that JetBlue or WestJet may have scheduled and a third weekly Montreal flight.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Corrupt Barbados politicians prepare to expropriate widow’s land – probably for personal profits

Barbados Expropriation

How long must ordinary Bajans put up with corrupt politicians compulsorily acquiring private lands – to be converted into private profits for the political elites and their friends?

“Sobbing uncontrollably, his mother said she was afraid that her house and land would be taken away.” (Nation News)

Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman harassing widow for her property for 18 years

Every Bajan has seen or heard about this before – sometimes involving family, friends or old Aunties. Mostly we keep our mouths shut.

We keep our mouths shut because we know how it is ’bout hey. We know that there is no place to go, and we have to spend the next 70 years on this little island, God willing. Better not to cross the powerful political and financial elites who can have all your family sacked from their jobs over a few months with a word here and there.

Yes, it’s that bad on any of these small islands, including Bim. The outside world over and away in the UK and the USA don’t know the truth about living here.

Denis Kellman has been after widow's land since 1996.

Denis Kellman has been after widow’s land since 1996 “for the public interest”

Politicians get into power and then they start hunting around for victims. Widows are always high on the hit list. Better if they are money poor and land rich with any adult children living over and away. Usually involves land that was once valuable in crops or far from the city but not worth too much these days unless… unless…

… unless the building permissions are changed by the government. Then scrub land becomes worth gold… but it never happens in the widow’s hands. Never. Never ever. Never.

So the government ‘compulsorily acquires’ the land for some “really important national purpose…” but maybe after the government owns the land for a few years, development doesn’t happen. Budget problems, ya see! So the government sells the land to private interests and sometimes for less than the purchase price.

When contacted, Kellman admitted that the land was earmarked for development purposes but refused to expand on that.”

Happens all the time… private lands seized by government for agricultural prices. Then the government flips the land to private interests for the same price, then the new owners sell it for thirty, forty or a hundred times the price paid the widow. But it is all engineered from the start. Happens all the time.

“My father bought this land in 1952, built this house in 1953 and he died in 1954 when I was only six years old, leaving this property for me and my mother…

Mr. Edwards said Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman first approached him about the land in 1996.”

… from The Nation article Not Selling

Farmers are a second class of victim. Scrub land that used to be profitable, the farmer getting older and his children professionals or gone away with zero interest in agriculture. So the farmer applies for development permission. Once that permission comes through, his land is worth a fortune.

But it never comes through. He can wait 15 years but he’ll never get permission to develop his land. Then some ‘representatives for a consortium’ quietly approach him with an offer.  Continue reading

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

I got the blues in Barbados on a Saturday night

Talk ya talk.

Cliverton and Robert are back.

Never had so much party in all our lives. Photos soon!

Barbados Biplane

Robert took me upside down!

This isn’t us, but it could be.

clive

(photo courtesy of Great American Days, Georgia USA)

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados