Category Archives: CARICOM

LIAT: There’s only two basic choices…

LIAT late

by Iain Edghill

As I see it, there are only 2 choices facing LIAT and its government shareholders. Either it has to be deemed an “essential service” and continue to be subsidized despite the operational inefficiencies inherent in its structure; or, it has to be fully privatized, de-politicized, and forced to be self-sustaining.

Both options are problematic. In these tough economic times, when governments are cash-strapped and are trying to figure out how to stretch their dwindling resources, many constituencies will argue that subsidizing a national airline should be very low on the priority list. Conversely, there are those who will argue, not without just cause, that LIAT is crucial to inter-island communications and commerce.

Has any study ever been done as to exactly how much LIAT contributes to the GDP of CARICOM? That is crucial to the discussion here. What would the economic impact be, in $$ terms, if LIAT were to disappear? Once that figure is empirically established, that could be used as the baseline for government subsidies, a quid-pro-quo, so to speak.

Perhaps the solution is a form of public-private sector partnership, with CARICOM governments providing a baseline subsidy, and the private-sector, with aviation professionals providing the operational expertise in running the airline, as Mr. Lynch correctly suggests, being the other half of the operational and financial equation.

One thing is for sure with regard to LIAT: the status-quo is both financially and operationally unfeasible.

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, CARICOM

Will the demise of LIAT Airlines bring down CARICOM too? Do you remember “one from ten is zero”?

Liat Airline

Our old friend Jim Lynch has been following the news that Barbados wants to pull out of LIAT Airlines and establish a national carrier. You can follow the story at CRANe – The Caribbean Regional Aviation Network.

That got us thinking… you remember the old CARICOM cry “one from ten is zero”?

LIAT isn’t CARICOM, but it is perhaps the most visible expression of Barbados’ commitment to the organization.

If LIAT falls, does it harm CARICOM?

Proposal for Barbados to Quit LIAT

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, March 28 2015 – Caribbean News Service (CNS) has obtained a document titled “Proposal for the Establishment of a Barbados Air Carrier.”

The document, allegedly authored at the senior management level of LIAT, points to Barbados, LIAT’s majority shareholder, planning to quit airline

The document proposes that a Barbados air carrier be established with its own Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and Route Licensing Authorisation. The new company would effectively replace the majority of existing LIAT services throughout the region and would seek to develop new markets.

An approach, methodology and structure for the establishment of the new Barbados air carrier were detailed in the document.

It said a traditional approach to fleet planning in a startup airline with a projected requirement of 10 aircraft would be to launch initially with two to three aircraft and a limited route network and build thereafter incrementally over a period of 18 months to the final fleet number. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has funded, via shareholder governments, LIAT’s wholly owned ATR -42 aircraft.

The plan calls for the title of those aircraft to be passed on to the Barbados Government either through shareholder agreement or through CDB taking charge of the aircraft and reassigning them.

… finish reading CNS article Proposal for Barbados to Quit LIAT

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, CARICOM

Devaluation of the dollar may only be the beginning of the end

sinking ship barbados flag DLP

“In the Caribbean most of the leaders are old time Marxist-Leninists, who now like to describe themselves simply as socialists – because it hides the failure of those school boy idiotic idealist beliefs still held by a bundle of old rambling communists.”

Communist idiots!

by Peter Binose

We may all wake up one morning soon and find our EC dollars worth less, or even worthless – our savings and our buying power reduced. Our local pensions worth so much less, and our food bills and everything we buy costing so much more. They won’t tell you in advance in case it causes a run on the EC dollar, with people withdrawing and buying other currencies such as the US dollar etc.

The reason for devaluation will be because of the damage inflicted on the monetary system by Caribbean states that over-borrow and can’t afford to pay back those borrowings. If you consider Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, they borrowed so much money from their national bank and could not repay it that they had to sell the bank. If that bank had collapsed it would of caused the EC dollar to be damaged and would of certainly triggered the devaluation of the EC dollar.

Root causes will remain with us – because too much debt, vast regional financial imbalances, and high energy prices have actually grown worse because of fiscal ignorance, even fiscal duncemanship by the Prime Ministers.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Disaster, Economy, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption

How Sir Ronald Sanders swayed Caribbean support for Britain during the Falklands War

caricom-barbados-ronald-sanders.jpgSue Onslow of the University of London interviewed Sir Ronald Sanders as part of the Commonwealth Oral History Project. The entire interview available to read online at Commonwealth Oral Histories, or you can download the PDF at the bottom of this post.

Sir Ronald was a diplomat starting in the 1980’s and was part of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group reporting in 2011. The first Eminent Persons Group included Barbados future Governor General, Dame Nita Barrow, who famously dressed in African garb to sneak into Soweto in South Africa and also met with Nelson Mandella in jail.

The interview covers a wide range of topics where Sir Ronald gives the perspective of someone right in the middle of the chaos that is international politics. Topics include South Africa (people, politics and apartheid), the US invasion of Grenada, the Falklands War and stories and opinions about famous people including then Barbados Prime Minister Tom Adams and lessor public figures like Reagan and Castro. 😉

It’s a good read for anyone interested in history or politics.

Here’s a passage about how the Caribbean had decided to side with Argentina in the Falklands, but then Sir Ronald decided to convince the leaders that our collective interests favoured the UK…   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Culture & Race Issues, Grenada, Human Rights, Politics

Shanique Myrie ‘finger rape’ case shows CARICOM doesn’t really exist now – and probably never will

Barbados drug search

Caribbean Court of Justice considers the Shanique Myrie case

Sir Ronald Sanders has written an excellent article about the state of CARICOM when subjected to the cold light of what happened to Shanique Myrie. Well worth your time…

Since the establishment of CARICOM in 1973, tens of thousands of CARICOM nationals have travelled in its member states with no difficulty. However, a significant number have complained of discrimination by immigration officials at the point of entry of several Caribbean countries – some, even when they are travelling on Canadian, US and European Union passports.

All of this has raised questions about the value and relevance of CARICOM to the citizens of its 15 member countries. Indeed, these events have created resentment and an inclination to dismiss CARICOM as nothing but a government ‘talking shop’. The governments themselves have not done enough to address the problem, which if a solution is not found, will undermine the worth of CARICOM to many of its citizens.

from Bajan Reporter’s Eyeing the case before the Caribbean Court of Justice by Sir Ronald Sanders

Further Reading about Shanique Myrie

BFP, March 24, 2011 – Jamaican women welcome in Barbados if they submit to a finger up their vagina?

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Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Human Rights, Jamaica

REDjet debacle shows CARICOM is a sham

“What has been dished out to RedJet is shameful. I bow my head in that shame. I truly now know that CARICOM is but a sham and obviously just a ploy for Heads of our nations to get together and feed their egos.”

by Rosemary Parkinson

The reception that RedJet has received from our so-called- unified-by-CARICOM governments has been to say the least based on protectionism for LIAT and Caribbean Airlines. RedJet were doomed to fail if Caricom Heads did not put the necessary openings in place. The Barbados government was also a tad unhurried in getting RedJet the necessary support and I am not talking investment. There was no need at the time for this – those behind RedJet saw a niche, did their homework and were well-prepared to give the people a low-cost airline. This is where I smell a rat because these businessmen would not have gone through with their plans had they not been given certain assurances…by certain people…or at least that is my belief. I could be wrong, this could be an assumption.

We the people, however, embraced RedJet, welcoming this opportunity for the Caribbean region to be more integrated. Vendors could now move back and forth and make a living. Artistes from all areas of the creative arts had an opportunity to truly know our neighbours and earn extra dollars. Families and friends could now travel easily. Regional tourism had been finally given the push it required. Regional business at all levels could now afford visits to their partners rather than just telephone meetings. Most importantly RedJet gave an opportunity for food and goods to be moved between the islands – a huge plus for us the people as we sought to reduce our import bills from the north.

RedJet was people friendly and had one and only one vision…to give the people (I said the people) of the Caribbean an airline that cared cost-wise. Naturally making ends meet and profit would have also been a priority. But digging out the eyes of their own people was not. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, CARICOM

How one policy change will cause a worldwide explosion of Caribbean culture and commerce

The Proposal: All Cable Networks must Carry all Caribbean Television Stations as part of its Basic Package.

by Baba Elombe

“The ultimate goal of this proposal is to prepare us for entry into the lucrative world markets with our distinctive culture.”

In recent months there has been a growing spate of negativism across the region emanating in a large part from our lack of knowledge about the others that we share this Caribbean space with. Most of the time hear-say dominates public opinion and the rapidity with which it takes place makes it impossible to have reasonable conversations.

We are therefore asking heads of Governments to commit to the involvement of Caribbean people in the conversation by making it mandatory for all cable networks to carry all CARICOM television stations as part of the basic package that is offered to Caribbean households.

It will cost governments nothing to implement this policy.

It is purely an administrative decision for the Broadcast Commissions to implement this policy as a priority. If stations do not wish to participate it is up to them but the networks must make room for them as a matter of our policy of regional development. Stations in each territory must have the same rights as citizens to travel where ever they desire within the region. Journalists are free to work in any of the CARICOM member states, yet their abilities and strengths are hidden and is only available to the local market.

More importantly, our intellectual and mental space is dominated by USA, Canadian, British, German, French, Chinese, Indian, Latin American, and Mid- Eastern perspectives. For example, when a number of university educated and professional young people visited Jamaica and was taken around various neighborhoods in Kingston, they expressed surprise at the quality of the housing they saw. When asked why they were surprised, they pointed out that their knowledge of Jamaica was based on music videos. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Caribbean Media, CARICOM, Culture & Race Issues, Freedom Of The Press