What a surprise!
The sight of the Stars and Stripes being hoisted over the newly opened US embassy in Cuba last week, was one of the most visible signs yet of the diplomatic rapprochement between the long-term foes.
If President Barack Obama gets his way, the US Congress will soon go further still and lift its 55-year-old trade embargo on the island.
Such a move would be a major boon to the Cuban economy, not least by unleashing a torrent of big-spending American tourists on the island, which has largely been starved of such arrivals for more than half a century.
This, however, could prove disastrous for some of the small islands elsewhere in the Caribbean which are heavily dependent on tourism. They could see much of the US tourism trade they have come to reply on decamping to the large, and quite possibly cheaper, new competitor in their midst.
… continue reading the Financial Times Cuban thaw poses tourism threat to Caribbean neighbours
by Afra Raymond
Sad to say, this CL Financial bailout is resembling a situation in which well-connected persons are getting what they can, any way they can, but making sure not to get caught. Who were the beneficiaries of this lavish payout? What is this reluctance to release details?
That is the Code of Silence in effect.
I was not at all surprised at the reported statements of the Minister of Finance, Larry Howai, on the 22 July 2015 High Court judgment ordering him to provide the detailed information I had requested on the CL Financial bailout. The High Court granted a 28-day stay of execution and the Ministry is reportedly in consultation with its lawyers, claiming that “A decision will be made within the period of time allowed by the court,”. The article closed with this quote –
“…Finance Minister Larry Howai said in the statement it should be noted, none of the requests refer to “how over $25b was spent in the Clico bailout”…”
Given that the very request was for the detailed financial information which has been deliberately suppressed since 2009, it is of course impossible to say with any certainty just how much Public Money was actually spent on this CL Financial bailout. That is the inescapable fact at the center of this scandal. The Minister’s tautology is really a powerful explanation of this point.
The fundamentals are that Public Money must be managed and accounted for to a higher standard than that which applies to private money. That is the accepted position in terms of good practice in public administration. Larry Howai is a qualified accountant and was a career banker before his appointment as Minister of Finance & the Economy. I do not accept that Howai is unaware of these standards. We are entitled to a full and detailed accounting of how this vast sum of Public Money was spent…
… continue reading this article at Afra Raymond’s blog: CL Financial Bailout – The Hidden Truth
Lots of beaches, sand, surf, sky everywhere. Why should people pay most for Barbados? Maybe they should… but why?
“We have to either redress this reality or perception or risk losing more market share.”
Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner
With Sterling reaching an eight year high against the Euro, making most European countries dramatically less expensive as holiday destinations and the Canadian Dollar below 80 cents when compared with its southern neighbour, the pressure is on to making Barbados perceived as offering value-for money.
So when a Spanish based bank with a huge presence in the United Kingdom recently published the results of a survey entitled ‘Barbados Caribbean island is most expensive place to visit’ it should send a huge tidal wave of realism to our various tourism policymakers and planners that we have to either redress this reality or perception or risk losing more market share.
Santander UK currently serves more than 14 million active customers from 921 branches and 66 regional Corporate Business Centres in the United Kingdom. As of 31st December 2014 it was the most switched-to-bank attracting 1 in 4 new retail accounts.
The survey, largely undertaken by Opinium Research/ONS Travel Trends 2014, stated ‘British people visiting Barbados will feel a particular nasty sting in their wallets this summer, having to fork out an average of GBPounds 109 a day in spending money – not including the cost of a hotel’.
Around the world Barbados was placed as No. 1 in a list of the ten most expensive countries for British people to visit based on average daily spend. Second was the United Arab Emirates.
Just as alarming, is that Santander concluded that the daily costs of visiting Barbados have risen from GBPounds 79 per day or nearly 38 per cent since 2010. Continue reading
Sugar is over, finished…
With the recent revelation that the Government-owned Barbados Agricultural Management Company left 1000 acres of cane to rot in the fields – and that our country’s total 2015 sugar harvest might not reach even 10,000 tonnes, BFP re-blogs this post.
It’s time to leave sugar behind. It is a deep, dark hole that sucks money and energy from this nation. None of our children will cut cane or pick cotton, and the cost of Barbados sugar production is the highest in the world.
It’s over folks. It’s over.
Almost ten years ago, BFP asked Prime Minister Owen Arthur about his plan for sugar…
Remind me… what was the Barbados government plan to replace the sugar revenues?
Oh ya… I remember now…
1/ Beg the Europeans for money – playing upon white man’s guilt.
2/ Sell the rest of the island to foreigners.
Ya… good plan, Owen!
Barbados Free Press
“Instead of pouring more money into sugar, the Government of Barbados would be better served letting the industry die a peaceful death, as St. Kitts did in 2005.”
“This massive investment in the sugar industry defies logic and sours an otherwise prudent budget.”
“Sugar is so intrinsic to their national identity, however, that Barbadian taxpayers apparently support this fiscal profligacy.”
Mary Kramer, US Ambassador to Barbados, January 27, 2006
WikiLeaks just released a massive new treasure trove of US Embassy Bridgetown previously secret cables.
We’re looking at many of them in our article WikiLeaks: Massive release of Barbados US Embassy documents. You can help too by going to WikiLeaks Embassy Bridgetownpage and digging in!
But we’re going to post this cable on its own because it makes for very interesting reading.
Considering our current economic situation, Barbados Labour Party supporters will jump right on this cable as vindication…
View original post 2,096 more words
Lots of beaches, sand, surf, sky everywhere. Why should Brits pay more for Barbados?
Wonderful. Just what we need ’bout this island.
BFP pundit Adrian Loveridge has been pounding this subject for years. Looks like nobody has been listening…
UAE and Barbados most expensive destinations for British holidaymakers
The UAE and Barbados have been ranked the most expensive destinations for British tourists in a new survey published by Santander.
According to the report, the two destinations cost Brits more than £100 per day in spending money. By comparison, Poland and India are the cheapest destinations, costing just £30 per day on average.
These figures do not include the cost of hotel accommodation or flights.
With a direct flight to Barbados costing an average of £3,136 – flying out on 27 July, the busiest week of the summer – a couple going away for two weeks could expect to pay around £12,900 for their summer holiday, once accommodation is included, the report stated.
… continue reading the full report at Travel Daily UK
Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner
It is already more than halfway through the year and this is a time perhaps that our tourism policy planners are focusing on what marketing strategies can be effectively put in place to build on the first quarter increase in visitor arrivals.
As always, it is almost impossible to accurately predict what is going to happen in our global marketplaces and how that could impact on numbers, average stay and spend.
Important issues include the fall in the value of the euro earlier this year and whether this will be further impacted with the eventual solution to the Greek crisis. What effect will the first Conservative British government budget since 1995 have on the disposable income of most Brits? And finally, there is increased speculation about an impending recession in Canada, just at a time we were experiencing improved arrivals and airlift.
Having lived in Canada for some time, I know there is a psychological threshold when the Canadian dollar falls below 80 cents compared to the United States dollar. Naturally, Canadians then start to question whether they are truly obtaining value for money at holiday destination choices. It becomes an imperative to clearly demonstrate that we can offer a competitive product by at least attempting to reinforce component parts of the tourism industry that are more affordable.
While we will never be able to compete with the mass tourism regional offerings like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and alike, Barbados still has a myriad of more affordable accommodation choices. Of course lodging is only part of the equation, so personally I think there is room for a re-DISCOVER-like promotion specifically aimed at the Canadian market that helps minimise the currency value differential, which include not just restaurants, but attractions, activities, car rental and shopping. Continue reading
by David Comissiong, President of Clement Payne Movement
As we approach Barbados’ 50th year of Independence, I am calling on all patriotic Barbadians to join together and make a determined effort to uproot and eradicate the destructive remnants of the “Old Colonial System” that still exist in our supposedly independent nation.
And one particularly odious remnant is that aspect of the “Old Colonial System” that traditionally permitted the social and business elite of Barbados to have compliant members of the political directorate grant them outrageously preferential business and commercial arrangements that allowed them to feed on the substance of the Barbadian State and on the mass of predominantly black labourers, consumers, and – in more recent times- taxpayers!
Just take a cursory look at Barbados’ history and you will see exactly what I mean. From the earliest colonial days, the planter/merchant elite utilized a compliant House of Assembly to, inter alia:- supply themselves with cheap labour by legislating the enslavement of Blacks; grant themselves legal title to the lands they had occupied; give themselves a commercial advantage by prohibiting free Blacks and Coloureds from being able to give evidence in Court against them; control Black labour by enacting a Post- Emancipation “Masters and Servants Act”; prohibit the migration of Black labourers from Barbados; transfer the burden of falling international sugar prices unto the backs of the large black labouring class; use legislation and the Court system to ensure that the lands of bankrupt plantations did not fall into the hands of Blacks; use grant money from the British Government exclusively for the elite sugar planter class; and the list goes on and on.
In more recent “Independence times”, this old colonial phenomenon has been manifesting itself in the practice of predominantly black Parliamentarians and Ministers of Government granting amazingly preferential taxpayer- funded or guaranteed contracts to elite white Barbadian and foreign business-people – contracts that they would never dream of conferring upon black Barbadian business-people!
One such contract is the so-called “Take or Pay Contract” that the current Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration granted to Mr Bizzy Williams’ Sustainable (Barbados) Recycling Centre Inc (SBRC) in June 2009. Under that contract, we, the taxpayers of Barbados, are obliged to underwrite a guaranteed minimum payment of $22.6 Million per year over a 20 year period to SBRC for the processing or managing of so-called municipal solid waste, whether or not the company is actually called upon to carry out work of the requisite minimum quantity! Thus, under this contract alone, we taxpayers are saddled with a minimum payment of $45 Million over the 20 year period. Continue reading