Category Archives: Barbados

Robert and Cliverton take a break: London or Las Vegas?

barbados-girls-las-vegas

Choices, choices, choices.

For the first time in nine years Robert and Cliverton are taking a holiday together.

Should we be good boys, head to London and visit relatives?

Or should we forsake our duty to elderly uncles and cousins we haven’t seen in years and do what we really want to do… head to Vegas!

Duty to family, or wild times as two unmarried Bajan men take on the City of Sin?

Let me think about that…

See you in a few weeks, or maybe sooner if we can throw up a post or two between drinks and women.

Oh… looks like I’ve made up my mind already!

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Tomas Chlumecky: LIAT should tell the truth

Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the recent announcement that David Evans had been hired as LIAT’s new CEO. Will the change at the top make a difference? The rot goes deep, as this article by Tomas Chlumecky shows…

LIAT late

As LIAT continues to drain tax payers money, is it not time for the tax payers to ask for action and accountability from their politicians?

As an Airline Consultant, I thought I have seen it all, but LIAT is a very special case indeed. Experience shows that companies in decline MUST replace some of the people responsible for the decline, these people lead the company to its current position and are incapable of the mind set needed to make fundamental changes to the strategy they so blindly believed in that created the crisis in the first place. They may not see it, but they block any real changes because they are bent on defending the dying cause, therefore they need to go!

When will the Board realize that the Chairman of LIAT, Dr. Jean Holder and once again Acting-CEO and CFO Mrs. Julie Reifer-Jones are failed leaders that have led LIAT to where it is today? Any reasonable Board by now would have requested their resignation.

Recently LIAT blames the “summer meltdown” on its inability to sell its DHC-8 aircraft because they do not have the records for the aircraft up to date! One year after ordering the ATR’s and knowing full well they needed to sell them with records up to date, just the fact the records are not up to date is NOT acceptable. If they flew with records not up to date the then ECCCA needs to step in investigate. Just horrible management.

Next, the people of the EC are being told the new ATR’s are more economical and that is why LIAT went out to buy and lease 12 ATR’s. This is non-sense. The 8 ATR-72′s will cost about $US1.4 million lease payments per month! The 4 ATR-42′s being purchased cost $US 74 million at list price, so what LIAT did was substantially increase it lease obligations and debt at a time it has little money, pays salaries late and cannot even keep its maintenance records up to date. Continue reading

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Amnesty International says Barbados police torture prisoners

Dottin Police Shootings

According to Amnesty, on March 17, Mottley and Headley, in the company of their lawyer, presented themselves at the Hastings police station in “good health”, as certified by a doctor.

But hours later, Mottley’s lawyer Brian Clarke reportedly received a call from his client requesting his urgent presence.

“When the lawyer arrived, he saw that Adrian Mottley was in distress, he had a split lip and had vomit on his mouth. Shortly afterwards he fainted and began foaming at the mouth, ” Amnesty claimed in the statement.

It said after receiving medical attention, Mottley later told his lawyer that “police officers had wrapped him in plastic wrap from his feet up to his neck and then [beat] him around the body.”

… from Barbados Today Tortured?

Do Bajans believe that the Royal Barbados Police Force regularly beats prisoners? Do fish swim in the sea?

A few reminders from BFP stories…

March 25, 2013  Was Derek Crawford beaten by police to make him confess to rape?

November 25, 2012 Barbados Police competence, brutality, in spotlight as ‘wrongful’ rape charges explode in worldwide news

December 2, 2011 Death in Police Custody

May 30, 2011  Barbados Bar Association President: Police beat confessions from suspects

Sept 9 2010 Dear Police Commissioner

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The Chinese credit bubble “China’s economy dangerously hooked on debt-fueled growth”

Hey… we Bajans know a thing or two about debt-fueled economies, don’t we?

Thanks to an old friend for this suggestion

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Airbnb transforming tourism and hotel industry: but there will be casualties

airbnb barbados

Airbnb Barbados search returns over 200 rentals! Click photo for larger

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

If I had mentioned the name Airbnb a few months ago, I wonder, hand-on-heart, how many people could claim that they knew much about the company.

Perhaps hardly surprisingly, as not that long ago it sold novelty cereal boxes to stay afloat to now emerge as a major threat to the hotel industry and ‘close to becoming one of the world’s most valuable startups’.

If quoted plans materialise, private-equity firm TPG and boutique investment advisors, Dragoneer Investment Group, who are already in advanced talks will raise capital to put a value on what has been described as ‘the upstart home-rental site’ of US$10 billion.

Mutual funds are being sourced through the strategic research platforms of entities including T Rowe Price Group and Fidelity and are also in discussion to join the group.

To put that it context, the combined share worth of Airbnb would equate to US$2 billion more than the entire InterContinental hotel chain. Continue reading

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Technical problems: Comments turned off for now.

Pinned to top, scroll down for newer material.

Hello folks,

Barbados Free Press is under attack from persons who are leaving the most foul comments. We are also experiencing some technical attacks that threaten the blog.

Therefore we’ve had to turn off the comments for a bit while we sort out this problem.

Too bad, but that is the way things are at the moment.

Love you all, and we’ll try to fix it asap.

Cliverton

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Is Barbados special enough to attract Chinese tourists?

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Chinese tourists at Cricket World Cup 2007

Bridgetown is a long way from Beijing!

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Much discussion has taken place over the last year or so about the importance of attracting Chinese visitors to Barbados, and few could disagree that it is a potential massive market that cannot be ignored.

Let us, though, take a minute to look at the practical reality.

Using Great Circle (shortest route by air) distances, Beijing is a mind-boggling 8,775 miles from Barbados. Shanghai is some 9,381. Even if current aircraft could fly those distances non-stop, it entails a minimum flying time of 17 to 19 hours and then there are all sorts of crewing and equipment challenges.

Air China is presently the only airline to operate non-stop services from Beijing to New York (JFK) with11 flights weekly by B777-200 aircraft and a flight time of around 13 hours. China Eastern Airlines operate Shanghai to JFK at least daily.

In an extensive interview recently, when questioned about direct flights into the Caribbean, Dr. Zhihang Chi, Vice President and General Manager of North America for Air China stated that was not an option. However, he said ‘that China’s flag carrier would instead be targeting more flights to North American hubs and striking up partnerships with local carriers to funnel traffic into the Caribbean’.  Continue reading

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Bridgetown Careenage and Harbour beautiful… but deadly to Sea Turtles

Honey Bea Fishing Barbados

Honey Bea III refuses to answer accusation of fishing for turtles

Contributed by BFP reader CJB

The Careenage and Harbour used to be a garbage strewn muddy dump. They have spent years cleaning it up and landscaping the surrounds. They have even restored the lift bridge to working order. However now that the area has been cleaned up and the water is far less murky (polluted?) turtles have started to appear, largely attracted by the free food from the deep-sea fishing boats moored there.

Unfortunately some of the deep-sea fishing vessels are now also trying to catch the turtles with rod, line and hook. The boat we saw was Honey Bee III. (Editor’s note: I think he means Honey Bea III)

They had a rope over the side with what looked like the entrails of a large fish at the end of it – two Hawksbill turtles were attempting to get bits off it. One was an adult, another a juvenile. However there was another conventional fishing rod and line with hook also dangling in the water. It was baited with fish – quite why it was there is a moot point. It was this that the adult turtle got caught on – obviously attracted to the bait on the hook. There was quite a struggle by one of the guys to ‘land’ it and the rod bent right down. Eventually the turtle surfaced and its head broke the water – my photo in hi-res clearly shows the line from the rod to the hook in its beak.

Then the line snapped and the turtles (both) swam off. The two staff carried on gutting a barracuda as though nothing had happened. The whole incident also witnessed by a number of tourists.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Nature, Wildlife

Harlequin fraudster: Matthew Ames jailed 40 months in fake carbon credits scam

“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.”

… from BFP’s February 13, 2014 article Harlequin’s Matthew Ames guilty of ponzi scheme fraud.

Will father David Ames follow son to jail?

Matthew Ames

Matthew Ames

We were a little low in our previous estimates as it turns out that Matthew Ames defrauded investors of £1.6 million, some £400,000 more than thought – but hey, what’s a few pennies between friends?

The son of Harlequin’s Dave Ames was sentenced to 40 months in jail, which seems a short sentence considering that many of his victims are sentenced to life in poverty and despair.

It took about 3 years to bring Matthew Ames to justice, but that is quick considering the ongoing disaster of Harlequin Resorts created by Dave Ames and other ne’rdowells.

Further enjoyment:

Conman who used James Middleton to promote his bogus rainforest protection scheme is jailed

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Barbados History: Bajan handyman turned axe-murderer – Julian Carlton massacred seven at Frank Lloyd Wright home in 1914

Barbados Axe Murder Wright Architect

“Julian Carlton said he was from Barbados and he had good credentials, having worked previously for a prominent Chicago caterer. There was not much more known about him.”

Mass murderer said to be from Barbados… but was he?

September 15, 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the mass-murder of seven at ‘Taliesin’, the Wisconsin estate home of famed Welsh/American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The murderer, Julian Carlton, and his wife Gertrude had always been reported as being from Barbados, but later accounts say the couple was ‘reportedly’ or ‘said to be’ from Barbados – indicating some doubt. It might be that the doubt originates only from the hundred years since the crime, but could it be that Julian and Gertrude Carlton only said they were from Barbados?

Can any of our readers confirm or deny that the Carltons were from Barbados? Julian Carlton was said to be 30 years old at the time of the murders, making him born around 1884.

Could it be that Julian and Gertrude Carlton only said they were from Barbados?

Frank Lloyd Wright Murder click photo for large

‘God’s judgement’ or a mentally ill man gone berserk?

In 1914 many folks said that the murders were God’s judgement upon Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress for their open adultery. Pretty mistress Mamah Borthwick Cheney was the younger wife of one of the architect’s clients when they started a torid affair in 1903. Frank Lloyd Wright left his wife of 20 years and six children for the delights of Mrs. Cheney and scandalised Wisconsin when he built an estate for her that the newspapers of the time dubbed the “Bungalow of Love”. Continue reading

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Martinique Master’s student asks our readers for information

Barbados Study

I am Elodie ANNERY, a student at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane in Martinique, Martinique, French West Indies. I am currently writing a Master’s degree report on the following topic: “The British cultural heritage in postcolonial Caribbean: comparative study of Barbados, Jamaica and Dominica”.

This topic has been chosen because I am particularly interested in the Caribbean area as I find it amazing. To complete my study, I need some  Barbadians to complete a questionnaire I’ve made, that is available on the Internet. Unfortunately, I cannot afford the travels and get my questionnaires completed on site.

Consequently, I would like to know if you could help me to achieve my study by broadcasting my links for the questionnaires, please. The questionnaire is here.
I’d be very grateful if you could help me for it is an essential element for my study.

Looking forward to reading you soon.

Best Regards

Elodie A.

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Loveridge: We should spend our tourism marketing budget where it will do the most good.

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

According to figures released by the Barbados Statistical Service, January 2014 recorded the second highest long stay visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom in the last 12 years, with 18,134 persons.

Only January 2009 exceeded this number with 20,911 persons.

Having said this, there is still a mountain to climb especially if you look at the situation in perspective; this lone month has to take into account recent past performance.

In 2012 our single largest market registered a decline in every consecutive month of that year, ending with an overall fall of 15,631 stay-over visitors. 2013 finished with another 4,786 arrivals down over 2012.

So over the last two years we have already more than 20,000 ‘lost’ British visitors to make up for. February 2014 United Kingdom figures continued with what hopefully will be an ongoing trend with a 10.2 per cent increase when compared with the identical month a year ago.

Sadly though, the decline across other markets resulted in an overall fall, registering the lowest stay-over numbers for any February during the last 11 years. More than any, the second month of the calendar is often the barometer of whether the winter season is going to end successfully or not.

Brits and Europeans stay longer, spend more!

We know that the ‘Brits’ and Europeans stay longer, therefore it is reasonable to assume they spend more. Based on this knowledge, should we not be spending a larger proportion of precious marketing resources in this market? Continue reading

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Robert MacLellan asks when LIAT chairman Jean Holder will be held accountable

“Real competition is brutal and the wolves are sensing and circling the wounded LIAT prey.”

“Idle threats” from LIAT’s chairman do more harm than good

by Robert MacLellan

by Robert MacLellan

The board of LIAT airline is clearly feeling the pressure of mounting ongoing criticism of its consistent inability to achieve a stable business model and to provide a vital intra regional air service in the Eastern Caribbean on a reliable basis.

Unfortunately, the announcements of 6th March from the LIAT chairman, Jean Holder, strongly suggest a strategy still devoid of any coherent business sense. Take on huge investment in multiple new aircraft but then shrink the airline’s network? “Passing strange” and “wondrous pitiful”, to quote Shakespeare. If, instead, this is Dr Holder’s idle threat, designed to panic other regional governments in to investing in an airline with such a tarnished reputation, then that also is a strategy likely to fail.

Investors seek companies with proven management expertise. Yet, in his 100 day strategy announcement last week, Dr Holder stated that the current directors and senior management have invited “some experts” to undertake route analysis of the LIAT network. Outside consultants are needed for a basic management task – even after 57 years of LIAT operations? No wonder there are accusations of amateurism in LIAT management and no wonder years of persuasion by Dr Holder have failed to elicit much new investment in the airline from other governments in the region. Continue reading

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If LIAT Chairman Jean S. Holder wants to communicate ideas, why didn’t he electronically publish?

Jean Holder LIAT Book

LIAT’s Chairman Jean Holder launched his new book last week. Caribbean Tourism is probably a very worthwhile read if for no other reason than the author is the current victim in charge of LIAT Airlines.

Our old friend Bajan Reporter posted an excellent review of the book by Sir Ronald Sanders that makes me want to run out and buy a copy, but alas… the book sells for US$40. Sorry old bean, I’ll have to defer that read.

Why oh why in this age of iPhones, iPads, MS tablets and online electronic publishing at Amazon did Dr. Holder only publish a dead tree version of his book and at a price that virtually assures only a handful of people will read what he has to say?

Dr. Holder won’t make any money anyway – few authors of such narrowly targeted books make anything worth talking about – so why not publish electronically and move a hundred times more copies than on paper?

Perhaps Dr. Holder’s choice of obsolete technology, high prices and limited distribution mirrors the way he runs LIAT? (Hey… it’s a cheap journalistic shot, but at least I’ll admit to it!)

Come on Doc… publish the new book electronically for US$10 a copy and I’ll buy and read your ideas.

Thanks to Ian Bourne for allowing us to steal his photo.

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LIAT disaster continues as Ralph Gonsalves challenges his critics to put their money up

“Put your money where your mouth is . . . . Everybody wants to talk about LIAT, but a number of these persons don’t want to have an authoritative position to speak about it. Being a chief executive officer of a company or the prime minister of a country which is not a shareholder doesn’t give you the right to talk authoritatively about LIAT,”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in the Nation’s No place for buccaneers in LIAT says PM

Is the reality that LIAT’s failure is not about leadership, financing or equipment? Could it be that 70 years of Caribbean commercial aviation has revealed a basic truth that no Carib-based airline could ever be profitable?

Here is the fourth letter to LIAT shareholders from Dominica hotelier Gregor Nassief, urging PM Gonsalves to step aside as chairman of the LIAT shareholder’s committee.

Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
LIAT (1974) LTD
V.C. Bird International Airport
P O Box 819
Coolidge
Antigua

Dear Prime Minister Gonsalves:

Re: Run it like a business before it goes out of business

On the televised program Time to Face the Facts on Sunday, February 23rd, I appealed to you to step aside as Chairman of the Shareholder’s committee of LIAT. As mentioned on the program, given the respect and admiration I have for you, particularly on your stance and leadership on issues such as reparations and the cholera outbreak in Haiti, it was personally difficult for me to do this. But it is necessary.

LIAT has moved from an operational meltdown in the Summer of 2013 to a financial meltdown a mere 7 months later. LIAT drains our treasuries, operates inefficiently and stifles competition. The source of LIAT’s problem is its financial unsustainability and as with everything else at LIAT, no one is accountable. As Chairman of the Shareholder’s committee, the buck stops with you.

LIAT needs to fight the battle of its life to transform itself to be financially viable and sustainable. But you believe, and have stated so publicly, that LIAT can never be profitable. This battle, therefore, needs a different general.

Unsustainability

LIAT has lost ec$120m in the last four years. Last month, LIAT could not pay both the lease on its aircraft as well as its payroll. So it chose one and delayed the other. A leased ATR gives 36% more seat capacity than its closest Dash 8 equivalent but is double the (lease) expense. In 2015, repayments will begin on LIAT’s recent loan of us$65m to purchase new aircraft. So monthly cash outflows go up even more.

And the new inflows to cover this? Inter-island tourism is down 60% in 7 years and LIAT’s load factor is running at about 55%. The fantasy (aka “business plan”) is that the load factor will go up to 75%. The fantasy is also that LIAT will fly its way out of losses by expanding to new destinations – Jamaica, Haiti, Aruba, Panama, and eventually to cities in North and South America.  Continue reading

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Barbados bus terminal? Nothing wrong here!

Barbados Bus terminal Freundel

Courtesy of BFP reader PJ (click photo for large print size)

I’m not really sure what has become of the Transport Board…

It’s a dicey topic to be honest – unserviceable vehicles, long and arduous routes, tardiness…the list could go on!

Here’s my take on the whole thing.

PJ

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Major Environmental Engineering study slams Barbados Government over imminent death of last Mangrove wetland. Government destroying RAMSAR natural heritage site.

BFP:

Here we are coming up on four years later and this story could have been written yesterday. A damned shame is all I can say. If the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary was open as in the past, it would be a wonderful attraction for the cruise ship visitors. God knows we need all the help we can get! Does anybody know the status of the dispute over this tourist attraction? Comments, please!

Originally posted on Barbados Free Press:

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership. As the largest private environmental stakeholder in Barbados, we continue to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to maintain the Sanctuary, but we all have to face the fact that it’s Government who is killing the wetland.   The study shows that our environmental commitment and investment cannot withstand this assault.”

… Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary owner Peter Allard in aMay 6, 2010 press release.

Unchecked pollution, government inaction puts migratory bird stop at risk

A new environmental study sharply critical of the Government of Barbados shows the key Graeme Hall mangrove wetland is disappearing due to outside pollution and poor water quality.

The Graeme Hall wetland is the last remaining mangrove in Barbados – a red mangrove forest that has existed for no less than 1,300 years. It…

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A bricklayer’s passing reminds me that we never know if this is the last day

Jeff Britwell Barbados

That’s Jeff and Trudy Birtwell in the photo. Jeff passed in his sleep while holidaying in Barbados last Tuesday.

Jeff was a relatively young man of 53 years old, and I say ‘young’ because I’m not that far behind. He was a bricklayer so he must have been healthy and fit enough but he died of a heart attack on holiday – sleeping with his woman beside him.

There are worse ways to go, and I admire the man after reading a news article from his home town Clayton-le-Moors in the UK. He leaves two fine sons who speak highly of him, as do many people, so says the local newspaper.

Jeff has me thinking about my own life tonight. Regular BFP readers know that I don’t have a steady woman or children. I have no legacy, no important things I’ve done and if the truth be known someone will probably have to hire people to carry my casket.

But after reading the newspaper article about Jeff’s passing in Barbados, I suspect that nobody will have to be hired to carry Jeff Birtwell on his final journey.

Good for Jeff. He went too early, but as I think about how he must have conducted his life to have the loving family and friends that he does, I find him an inspiration. Maybe I should conduct my life a little differently: call some friends, take Auntie to lunch once a month… maybe even find a good woman I could be loyal to.

Jeff… I didn’t know you, but I admire you. Thank you.

And Cliverton… pour me another two fingers of Mount Gay and we’ll toast a farewell to a good man we never knew.

Robert

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, People, People