Category Archives: Blogging

Happy Birthday! Five years of Barbados Free Press

On January 17, 2006 Barbados Free Press hit the internet calling for integrity, transparency and accountability in Barbados government. That was five years ago today and since then we’ve published over 4,000 articles and seen our readers contribute almost 100,000 comments. In 2011, BFP will welcome our 10 millionth visitor.

Over the years we’ve seen our articles picked up by major news outlets like CNN, Fox, The New York Times, BBC, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Sky News and, yes, even the India Times. That makes for some fun and doubly so when the article is about corrupt politicians, land grabs and abuses of power. With over 4,000 articles online, you can’t Google search for anything relating to Barbados without coming across a BFP article somewhere, often in the first few returns.

And yet…

Sometimes we feel like failures because nothing has really changed in five years. We were lied to by Owen Arthur and the BLP, who promised changes, transparency, accountability and integrity. Then we were lied to by David Thompson and the DLP who promised changes, transparency, accountability and integrity. This week we’re being lied to in St. John. Continue reading

26 Comments

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

Adrian Loveridge and Barbados Free Press on the Tourism White Paper Blog

Why doesn’t the Ministry of Tourism use a real blog for its White Paper discussion?

Adrian Loveridge submitted an article (published below) about the government’s White Paper on Tourism Development initiative where Adrian laments that – despite a fair amount of advertising, two town hall meetings and over 13,000 Bajans directly employed in the tourism industry – to date only seven people have posted comments on the Ministry of Tourism’s White Paper Blog since it was established last November.

Adrian’s article is generally positive about the government’s Tourism White Paper initiative (and we agree!), but he is perplexed at the lack of public input and interest on the Government’s White Paper Blog.

Fear not Adrian, (and fear not Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy), we at Barbados Free Press know exactly what went wrong with the White Paper Blog and how to fix it – quickly, easily and on the cheap. Heck, we or any real bloggers could fix it for free on Saturday night, given a bottle a Mount Gay, some coding music and pretty girls hanging about. Truly.

The Tourism Ministry’s “White Paper Blog” is not a real blog

Last November, Tourism Minister Richard Sealy announced the “White Paper for the Development of Tourism in Barbados” and the government’s “White Paper Blog” in an attempt to encourage and collect input about where we should be heading with our tourism product.

Good idea! Only problem is, apparently Minister Sealy and his staff have no idea of the differences between a true blog and a “static website with comments” – for they established an isolated “static website with comments” and not a true blog that would be connected to the over 100 million other true blogs currently on the internet. To explain the difference… Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Blogging

Forbes picks up Adrian Loveridge article at BFP

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we have no idea why articles from Barbados Free Press are being regularly picked up and republished or linked to by major news outlets like CNN, Sky News, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Times of India, Sunday Telegraph, Seventeen Magazine and others.

Lately the news outlets are interested in our CLICO and Arch Cot stories.

We’re pleased but mystified.

The latest pickup is by Forbes.com, who are pointing their readers to our recent article: Adrian Loveridge comments on Barbados Tourism Ministry website dysfunction.

1 Comment

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Blogging, Freedom Of The Press

Barbados Free Press forced to change layout.

Updated: November 18, 2010 – the wee hours… Change in Process

Ok, the new format is activated and we see a few problems, like the missing search bar. (Fixed)

See anything else that’s wonky? Please let us know in the comments. Thanks!

Change is good, right?

We’ve just heard from our blog hosting company, WordPress, that our current layout has to change.

WordPress is having a bit of a punch-up with the developer of our current theme “PressRow”, so they are discontinuing it. They suggest we use a similar theme called “Pilcrow”. Matt and the folks at WordPress assure us that the new theme is soooooooo much better with more bells and whistles.

Left unsaid is that we don’t know how smooth the process will be or if there will be some oops! moments along the way.

No matter, we have to do it so here goes!

We’ll make the change within 24 hours, so if everything goes wonky for a while – no worries. We’ll tough it out.

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging

Who has the passwords to the Barbados Labour Party website & blog?

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Regarding your story about the BLP website still showing Mia Mottley as party leader (Barbados Labour Party website: “Mia Amor Mottley, Political Leader of BLP”), I confirm that there is a fight going on over the BLP website. Only 2 people have the password and they aren’t giving it up. That is why the website hasn’t been updated since Owen Arthur took the leadership from Mia.

Your story is up for over 24 hours at the time I’m emailing you. People are getting desperate, but it will take this email being published before the passwords to the website and the blog will be turned over to the current leadership of the BLP.

There is lesson here somewhere.

Yours truly,

One who knows.

16 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Politics

LIME Internet blocks The Bajan Reporter website – FTC alerted

LIME by Cable & Wireless: Limited Internet, Many Expenses

Not the first time LIME blocked a website, probably not the last

We at Barbados Free Press understood entirely when we received a cc’d copy of an email this morning from Ian Bourne.

LIME has been blocking Bourne’s Bajan Reporter website ON A ROTATING BASIS just like it does with Barbados Free Press. Some folks can get it sometimes, and some folks can’t. As I write this, Grape Hall can reach The Bajan Reporter through LIME but south coast LIME customers can’t.

They don’t just shut it off you see… that would be too telling. They rotate the outage or “throttle” the speed.

Anything to please their political masters.

Hey, Alex McDonald. Yeah, you in the photo… we’re on to you, LIME and your scheme to censor political discussion on this island. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Here’s the email we received from Ian Bourne this morning. He sent it to about 30 people and news organisations, so I guess he means for it to be public. Here ya go folks…

TO: Alex McDonald, country manager for LIME Barbados

CC: (Barbados Free Press plus a List of 25+ names removed by BFP)

RE: Bajan Reporter website inaccessible to LIME users?

Good Morning Alex;

Trust this note finds you well and eager to clarify… I have everyone on board so we’re at the same page – last night a number of regular readers to my site said they could not access it – now I have a new server to accommodate increased users, I checked via Safari/Firefox/Chrome/Internet Explorer browsers and my signal is fine! But the fans who could not?

They all were using LIME, my service is no longer with Caribsurf – so my site appears in no time flat? Is there a problem in relaying my info to your customers? The fact I carry regional Football coverage from your competitors is considered objectionable? Or their forays into Asiatic climes? Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, Politics

Corruption-Free Anguilla blog shuts down over threatened lawsuit

Don Mitchell CBE QC learns why anti-corruption blogs in small countries must be anonymous

“The bottom line is that whether the gentleman who is threatening action against me is right or wrong, I am not prepared to expose Maggie Mitchell’s retirement fund to more risk of depletion.  Since I evidently lack the necessary skills of dissimulation, it would seem that the only way to ensure this objective is to cease publishing.  This will therefore probably be my last post on this blog.

A pity, really…”

Don Mitchell writes his final blog article: The End.

The Corrupt and Powerful Elites always attack the messenger

Since December of 2006 Don Mitchell argued for integrity and transparency in public service in Anguilla. Some folks aren’t happy about that and they are threatening to sue him, so that’s the end.

Mitchell’s Corruption-free Anguilla blog almost made it to the four year mark, but it’s over now. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Anguilla, Barbados, Blogging, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

San Francisco Chronicle features Kammie Holder’s “Swimming Up Stream”

On Friday September 24, 2010, The Nation newspaper refused to publish Kammie Holder’s weekly column because they disagreed with his straight talk. After that, Kammie quit or the newspaper fired him – we don’t know what happened.

That’s fine. The Nation can do what they want… and so can Kammie or any Bajan who cares enough about our country and our people to write and share their thoughts.

But the world has changed. No longer can the “oldstream” Bajan news media dis-empower and dis-enfranchise any citizen because the newspaper doesn’t agree with their politics – or because the citizen criticizes the elites who own the Barbados news media and everything else ‘pon this rock.

Kammie Holder said “To HELL with the Nation newspaper” and took his message to the internet. To Facebook, Twitter and the blogs. A few weeks later and the The San Francisco Chronicle decided that he had something worthwhile to say… so they linked to his article. The San Francisco Chronicle has a daily readership of 1.6 million people.

At this moment if you Google or Yahoo! search for “Barbados Independence”, you’ll find that Kammie’s article is #4 out of 82,400 returns. The Nation and The Barbados Advocate are not found on the list.

Even if Kammie is too classy to say the message out loud, we will do it for him: “Nation News… stick it where the sun doan shine! You media elites no longer control everything. The world is changing, but you don’t know it.”

22 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of The Press

Forbes picks up Barbados Free Press news feed!

We’re not sure why it’s happening.

Our visitor stats are surging and BFP will soon welcome our 9 millionth visitor. Yesterday we told you that Sky News, USA Today, CNN, Times of India and a host of other outlets are following our coverage of the Arch Cot Inquest.

Now we see that a few hours ago Forbes.com picked up our article Michael Lee-Chin’s AIC Finance – Another CL Financial CLICO situation in progress?

Our thanks to author Afra Raymond for that one!

FORBES.com didn’t pick up Barbados Advocate. They didn’t follow The Nation or the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation feeds. They tuned in to Barbados Free Press. OMG!

Why should the some of the world’s most prestigious news organizations pay attention to a nothing little blog like Barbados Free Press?

We haven’t a clue… but it’s happening.

8 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Blogging

Bajan Reporter website crashes due to high traffic!

The popular Barbados online news site The Bajan Reporter has been down for at least eight hours after 6,000 unique visitors in 12 hours caused the server to crash.

We have three thoughts for our friend Ian Bourne, who writes and runs The Bajan Reporter…

1/ Congratulations! Achieving an effective rate of 12,000 unique visitors per day is a big deal. If you could keep it up that would be over 4 million visitors per year. That’s huge numbers for a website focused on a population base of less than three hundred thousand people.

2/ Ian, in our opinion the continuing success and exponential growth of The Bajan Reporter is due to your chosen mix of topics, your writing skills and your extensive contacts. When something happens you probably hear about it long before many of the other journalists in Barbados.

and…

3/ Time to get a new hosting service with enough capacity to handle your increased traffic.

Big Question: Will Ian Bourne be covering the Arch Cot Inquest?

Only one newspaper mentioned the October 18th start of the inquest into the 2007 deaths of five members of the Codrington family – killed when their home collapsed into a known cave. In short, Barbados cannot rely upon the oldstream news media to provide complete and accurate coverage of this important inquest.

Ian Bourne could do the job… but will he?

11 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Caribbean Media, Freedom Of The Press, News Media

Barbados Underground blog “suspended” by WordPress for violations. What happened?

Was it threats to witnesses, threats to journalists, calls for racial genocide, XXX articles or something else?

Visitors to the Barbados Underground blog on Monday morning were greeted with a notice from WordPress.com internet hosting that the entire blog had been “suspended” for failure to comply with WordPress.com policies.

Later in the day the blogsite was put back up, but without any explanation from the editors or WordPress. It is as if nothing ever happened.

But it did.

Why was Barbados Underground suspended? Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Culture & Race Issues, Freedom Of The Press, Race

Barbados Tourism Authority Facebook not updated for 3 months

click to enlarge

Tourism Minister’s “social media” programme needs some attention

Our Minister of Tourism, Richard L. Sealy, was quoted on CBC TV8 News a couple of days ago stating that the Barbados Tourism Authority and his Ministry of Tourism are using Social Media to a greater extent, and how we hired some outside experts to assist our online tourism efforts. Indeed, Minister Sealy went on and on about the wonderful benefits of Facebook, Twitter etc and how effective and cost-effective online social media is. As Minister Sealy said (and I’m going by memory here), “There is no advertisement that can match the recommendation of a friend.”

True. Very true.

Too bad that Minister Sealy (above) doesn’t have time to log into his own Ministry of Tourism website. The gruesome details are at the end of this article, but the short story is that there are no visible links on Minister Sealy’s website to any Barbados tourism website or social media. Really.

The Ministry of Tourism’s website does contain a “Latest News” section though. Here it is in full…

“Latest News

Latest news here

Type text here”

It is also too bad that the Minister doesn’t have time to log into the various Barbados Tourism Authority social media sites once every few months to check up on the, ah, status. I was about to say “progress” of his social media programme, but I think I’ll let the following speak for itself. Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Blogging, Technology

What happened to the Barbados Association of Journalists?

Dead blog, dead organisation?

The Barbados Association of Journalists last revived from the dead in January of 2009 in response to the repeated harassment and arrests of professional journalists by the Barbados Police.

At that time there seemed to be interest among Bajan print and broadcast journalists in once again having a unified voice to address local concerns in their profession. Yes, everybody belongs to various Caribbean and international press organisations, but that’s not the same as having strong and credible representation on the home turf. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights

New York Times’ Frugal Traveler Tweets Barbados Free Press article to 77,000 followers!

Whoa Lord! I did not know the power of the internet until now.

A couple of days ago the New York Times – Icon with a capital “I”, news institution – featured a Barbados Free Press article via Twitter.

Within a few hours a single tweet to 77,000 followers of The Frugal Traveler brought thousands to the BFP article Big excitement in Barbados over direct Brazil flights – but still no Portuguese language on Barbados Tourism Authority website after ten years.

We don’t know what to say. To have so many folks from around the world read our words is an honour and a responsibility we do not take lightly. Wish we had some journalist training or background – but maybe the lack of is what folks like about us. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and when we make mistakes we make them in front of all. Never denied, and when corrected we leave them to stand – unlike the traditional Bajan news media who disappear stories every day.

Please forgive this self-indulgent post but I may have had a rum or three tonight and the sun is peeking over the horizon nevermind the clouds.

Gotta go… she’s a pretty thing ya know!

Cliverton

PS. She’s got me thinking about the M word. Very disturbing.

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Blogging, Freedom Of The Press

Dear Mia Mottley, this video is for you!

Not so long ago, then Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley went on the record saying Internet blogs “Marginalize…Parliament” and called for the regulation of blogs and call-in shows on radio and television. As the election of January 2008 showed, Mottley and the BLP were correct to fear any mechanism that allowed citizens to discuss issues in public without her government’s consent or censorship.

Lately the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Police Commissioner have been making similar noises about controlling citizen conversations on the internet. We’ll address their recent statements when we’re finished dealing with the flooding and water outage that has killed most of our activity for the last few days. (Big shout out to an old friend who suggested this video. And yes, we get the message ourselves and we’re working on putting BFP on FaceBook but we’ve been a busy lately like everyone.)

Until we get the mess cleaned up though, here’s a video for Mia Mottley, Police Commissioner Dottin and DPP Charles Leacock.

We hope they enjoy it as much as we did!

Comments Off on Dear Mia Mottley, this video is for you!

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Politics

Discovery Channel’s Treehugger.com picks up on Barbados Free Press articles

BFP’s story feeds republished big time!

With 3.5 million unique visitors and 10 million pageviews per month, Discovery’s TreeHugger.com website is “the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream.”

For some reason Treehugger has decided to republish story feeds from Barbados Free Press. Hey… that’s okay by us! Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging

Blipsterfarian Logic on Glenn Beck, True Blood and the Ground Zero Mosque

We are happy to see that our Jamaican friend Blipsterfarian (Yes. Blipsterfarian “Black+hipster+Rastafarian”) is back with a new blog after letting his old one fade away.

At Blipsterfarian Logic you’ll find an interesting mix of snippets on everything from politics and energy to passa-passa, Mad Men and True Blood.  Not to mention Naomi Campbell and African blood diamonds.

Blipster sometimes reposts other writers or pounds the keyboard himself (OK, he taps, I pound). Today he’s wading into the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor Rally” discussion with a repost that proclaims…

“Beck and his followers have sought to co-opt Dr. King’s dream and use it for their own nightmarish ends. They can no longer be ignored.” Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Jamaica

Barbados Free Press announces changes to banner advertising

Banners will permanently flow with our stories instead of only being seen for a few days

Since we announced in December 2009, that BFP would feature free banner advertising at the top of our blog as a public service, we have published 78 banners.

None of the websites we feature are paying us or are under any obligation to link to Barbados Free Press. We know from past experience that with a single link or photo BFP can send many hundreds of our readers a day to another website or business and we like to help out where we can.

Sometimes folks ask us to run their banner and other times we see people around the island or visit their business and decide on our own to feature their website. The current banner for Caribbean Spice Caterers is one of those situations where we attended a function they catered and decided we’d like to help them out.

Changes

In the past we’ve featured banners for a few days at the top of the blog, but the banner disappears until it comes up again in the rotation. We think we have a better way… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Blogging