Category Archives: Traveling and Tourism

Tourism Matters: Where is Barbados’ Tourism Master Plan? Where is our YouTube campaign?

Closed hotels, lost opportunities and a failure to embrace You-Tube. (It’s free! It works! Why aren’t we running to use it?)

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

When a senior executive of a major American based travel oriented advertising agency recently told me that more people now log onto YouTube daily, than view the entire combined United States television networks, it got me thinking whether ‘we’ as a destination are maximising the use of the social networks. In fact, according to their own website, ‘people are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands’ of them.

With such a powerful marketing tool, which is currently free to use, it frankly surprised me that either collectively or as individual tourism entities we do not appear to fully capitalise on this amazing opportunity. Log-on to YouTube, then type in ‘Barbados’ and the first three pages or 66 videos, mostly comprise of amateur films of various qualities. Despite this, some of them have attracted over 200,000 viewings. Only about three or four are professionally produced and perhaps portray Barbados as a destination in a competitive environment that could tempt a first time visitor. Continue reading

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Conde Nast Traveler publisher chides Barbados Coastal Zone Management for disappearing beach

Disappearing Mullins Beach

“Now, there are only impassable boulders, sea walls, and crashing surf.”

One of the world’s most respected travel magazine publishers has posted an online article about the disappeared beach at Mullins Bay, Barbados. The article also includes a photo that is a little different than typically shown in Barbados travel brochures. Instead of the vast expanse of sand still shown in those glossy advertisements for package deals, the photo shows the truth: rocks, little sand and trees about to fall into the water. The beach is gone. Continue reading

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Barbados tourist arrivals up 2.9% – Visitors to St. Lucia up 11.9%

What is the true story about our Tourism statistics?

The Barbados government and the Nation newspaper are joyfully reporting that Barbados visitor arrivals are up 2.9%. That’s wonderful, but then we hear from Adrian Loveridge that St. Lucia long-stay visitors are up 11.9% for the same period.

We also see on the St. Lucia Tourist Board website that American visitors to St. Lucia are up 31.3% during the same time. How did they make that happen? Are we talking apples to apples? Continue reading

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Adrian Loveridge: New American Airlines Dallas to Barbados flight is a game changer!

Will Barbados follow-up aggressively on this opportunity?

The recent announcement of a new direct non-stop service from Dallas to Barbados with American Airlines, scheduled to start on 16th December is more good news and offers tremendous opportunities for our tourism industry.

According to the DFW Airport Board, Dallas/Fort Worth handled over 56 million passengers last year from 175 destinations. 60 per cent of these passengers were connecting from other cities. The greater metropolitan area of Dallas is the largest in the south and the fourth highest population on any similar urban area in the United States, boasting over 6.5 million residents (source: US Census Bureau).

But even with these impressive statistics, it could well prove that our biggest marketing tool will be beyond this new gateway. Continue reading

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Wither our Small Barbados Hotels?

Government shows indifference to the small hotels

Adrian Loveridge

I read with interest some of the many comments attributed to the long serving chairman of the Intimate Hotels of Barbados at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting recently. I agree with most of them, but sadly I have also heard most of them before over prolonged periods of time. Until there is a fundamental shift in thinking, little will change.

Regrettably, consecutive Governments have not recognised the contribution made by our more than 120 small hotels. Continue reading

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Bob Verdun: Racist? Well meaning but culturally naive? Just truthful?

Lots to think about in Ian Bourne's photo of Bob Verdun!

Bajan Reporter says Bob Verdun “can overstep the boundaries of being respectful to his hosts”

Here in Bim race is just below the surface on everything. You can’t blame us for that, we come by it honestly. Have a look at our history long ago and more recently and you’ll see that in Barbados race has had social and economic impact upon individuals for hundreds of years. Continue reading

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Open-Skies for Barbados – Hope that new agreement with USA will bring increased air traffic.

“This agreement means the travelers, airlines and economies of both the United States and Barbados will benefit from competitive pricing and more convenient service,”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Representatives of the United States and Barbados have reached an Open-Skies Agreement that will liberalize U.S.-Barbados air services for airlines of both countries. Barbados will become the 99th U.S. Open-Skies partner.

Upon signature of the agreement, airlines from both countries will be allowed to select routes, destinations and prices for both passenger and cargo service based on consumer demand and market conditions. The agreement, which was reached on July 1, provides airlines, for the first time, with codesharing and intermodal rights. The previous U.S.-Barbados air service agreement, signed in 1982, contained restrictions on the cities that carriers could serve and placed limits on charter operations. The new agreement will remove these restrictions and provide important enhanced cargo rights.

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Hartley Henry tells Barbados tourism industry to Shut Up. Adrian Loveridge replies…

‘I get tired sometimes hearing the cliché lines of complaint from hotel spokespersons in particular. This constant begging for more is not directed at any single governing party. It is a culture of bellyaching that needs to stop’.

The number of tourism and especially hotel-oriented facilities doing direct marketing in the tourism marketplace can be counted on a single hand. Yet, as a body, they have adopted this ‘gimmuh’ mentality, which effectively forms one’s mirror image of certain industry practitioners’.

Prime Minister Thompson’s main political advisor Hartley Henry let’s fly at the Barbados tourism industry in the Barbados Advocate article ‘Mind your (tourism) business’

Prime Minister David Thompson & principal advisor, Henry Hartley

Hartley Henry demonstrated “how far he is removed from the truth and reality of this industry.” Continue reading

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Canadian investor Bob Verdun accosted by Barbados Boscobel Toll Gang

Verdun the latest victim to complain of gang activity against tourists

Last Friday Bob Verdun gave the noon lecture at DLP Headquarters and detailed 15 ways that the Government can improve our tourism product without spending a penny. Journalist Ian Bourne attended and is writing a series of articles on Mr. Verdun’s message. You can read Ian’s first article at his Bajan Reporter online news site.

Unsurprisingly, one of Mr. Verdun’s primary tourism concerns is security, because he knows as we all should that without security the other three “esses” – sun, sea and sand – don’t matter. What is interesting is that Mr. Verdun confessed during his lecture that he, like thousands of others, fell victim to the Boscobel Road Toll Gang and that he does not go to this area of Barbados anymore. Continue reading

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Brazil – Barbados GOL flight a tremendous achievement!

Just for the record, I would like to applaud all those involved in securing the direct non-stop flight from GOL flight from Sao Paulo including the Minister of Tourism, BTA, Barbados Diplomatic Corp and BHTA.

It is a tremendous achievement, and I believe it offers the very best option in terms of route, carrier, duration of flight, connecting city possibilities and gateway.

From comments made by the Minister in the media, he is not expecting every flight to be full in the initial operating period, and however sceptical some may be about this foray into South America, this is in my humble opinion is a very realistic approach. Continue reading

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Fodor’s honours Peach and Quiet Hotel in Barbados

Congratulations to Margaret and Adrian Loveridge and the Peach and Quiet staff! Once again, Peach and Quiet Hotel has been honoured with the much coveted Fodor’s Choice Award, this time for 2010.

Peach and Quiet is one of only three hotels on Barbados to be granted this prestigious award, the other two being Coral Reef Club and Sandy Lane Hotel. This latest Fodor’s accolade follows the early award this year of being rated as one of the ‘12 Best Value Hotels in the Caribbean’ and the only hotel on Barbados to be granted this recognition in 2010. Continue reading

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Pilots give ultimatum to LIAT over press release statements

Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association – Press release

P O Box 2313, St John’s, Antigua ♦ Tel: 246-243-2829 ♦ Fax:  246-562-2743
E-mail: lialpa@ifalpa.intranets.com
DATE:  15th June 2010

PILOTS GIVE LIAT MIDNIGHT DEADLINE TO RETRACT & APOLOGISE FOR STATEMENTS FILLED WITH DISHONESTY AND DECEIT

(St John’s, Antigua)     In a high-level meeting held at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados on Tuesday 15th June 2010, LIAT’s Management was given an ultimatum by Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) to retract several statements made in its Press Release dated Monday 14th June 2010. Continue reading

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St. Lucia “stealing our tourists” because Barbados tourism shareholders aren’t doing enough

Barbados not promoting the available low airfares!

This afternoon we received an email highlighting special airfares from the United States and Canada to St. Lucia.

It read ‘Airfare Sales to St. Lucia from US$99 each way’

‘Sample round-trip fares for Summer.
American Airlines, JetBlue or Delta – New York – $198 – Boston – $312 – Washington (DC) – $292 – Baltimore – $282 – Charlotte – $360 and Chicago – $312

West Jet and Air Canada – Toronto – $298’

Visit Barbados website: No promotion of fabulous bargain airfares to Barbados!

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Not having seen these airfares before earlier this year, I then went of to American Airlines website and found a one way airfare of US$89 from New York to Barbados for travel in May.

Looking at the recently released forward hotel occupancy levels for this summer, I then went onto our national tourism website (www.visitbarbados.org) and was surprised not to find any links to details of these special fares.

In fact on the site only two airlines are mentioned, US Airways and Air Canada, and I understand we have already lost the US Airways Philadelphia service.

I have to pose the question again, is our inactively and lackadaisical response loosing us critical long stay visitors during the softer summer months?

Are ‘we’ really happy to accept a national hotel occupancy level of just 24% in August again this year?

Are ‘we’ allowing our Caribbean neighbours to ‘steal’ our market share by them being far more proactive?

Adrian Loveridge
14th May 2010

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Bad News: Barbados Government taxes No Plastic Bag Day into submission then Environment Ministry ignores this vital project!

The Good

By all accounts, last weekend’s first annual No Plastic Bag Day in Barbados was successful in raising public awareness that there is an alternative to the millions of plastic bags Bajans throw away every year. Thousands of Bajans got the message as Future Centre Trust volunteers publicized the event at the wonderful businesses that participated: Emerald City, Carlton & A1, Super Centre, Trimart, Coffee and H&B Hardware.

As an example of what can be accomplished, Kammie Holder reports that through the excellent efforts of Mr. Dean, the cashiers and packers at Emerald City, between 9am and 2pm 80% of the shoppers participated in No Plastic Bag day and used a combination of green bags, cardboard boxes or brought their own bags to re-use.

Good work by Mr. Dean & Emerald City!

The Bad

Some stores were totally indifferent to No Plastic Bag Day. As Kammie puts it, Bajans can be very complacent.

But as BFP reader “Passin thru” said…

“Well done to Kammie and all the people at the Future Centre Trust. This was the start of something beautiful and it will grow every year and you’ll see that five years from now more people will use fewer plastic bags. That will be the longterm result of this first “no plastic bag day”.

No environmental project can be “wham-bam-accomplished”. This is a long term project to change the minds and culture of people who don’t care. Kammie and the other good people know that and they keep plugging away.”

The Ugly: Sabotage by Barbados Government

Unfortunately though, No Plastic Bag Day was nowhere near as successful as it could have been because the effort was sabotaged by the Barbados Government – and then totally ignored by Environment Minister Lowe and his Ministry workers.

No Plastic Bag Day sabotaged by government? Yup… sabotaged.

SHAME on Environment Minister Denis Lowe & Prime Minister David Thompson: Didn't care, didn't attend, didn't send reps during planning or to No Plastic Bag Day. Refused to exempt the Green shopping bags from duty and taxes.

The Barbados Government, Environment Minister Denis Lowe and the Environment Ministry were invited to participate in the planning and execution of No Plastic Bag Day. What a waste of effort.

Denis Lowe canceled a scheduled meeting with the Future Centre Trust at the last moment saying he had more important commitments. Lowe sent no stand-in. No Ministry of the Environment personnel responded to invitations either – and no politicians from any party showed up during the planning or on the day of the event.

The Barbados DLP Government of Prime Minister David Thompson did do one thing though: the DLP denied a duty waiver on the green shopping bags imported as part of No Plastic Bag Day.

That’s right folks – despite the Future Centre Trust’s point that over $10 million dollars is spent every year to clean the drains of plastic bags, the David Thompson Government couldn’t see any further than the duty & tax revenues from the sale of green shopping bags.

Consequently, the bags had to be priced several dollars higher than the intended $3 price point, so fewer were purchased and used by members of the public.

Thanks for nothing to Environment Minister Denis Lowe, the Ministry of the Environment and the government of Prime Minister David Thompson!

It is a sad irony that during the past few days the elites have been doing the champagne and finger-food thing at the 1th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11). They’ve been listening to Jonathan Tourtellot, Director of the National Geographic Centre for Sustainable Destinations, telling folks about the importance of community involvement and initiatives.

Is it too much to hope that Mr Tourtellot might see this article and understand that what is SAID by Barbados Government officials bears no link to what is DONE or NOT DONE by the Barbados Government?

Expose the disconnect between what is said by the Government of Barbados and what is actually done!

I wonder if any of our readers will send this article and other recent articles on the environmental failures of the Barbados Government to Mr. Tourtellot? Only when our elected and appointed government officials come to know that there is accountability will they get serious about the environment and stop faking it to grab those international aid dollars.

Barbados doesn’t have any environmental protection legislation. No mandatory recycling or local pickup. Zero controls or standards on hazardous chemicals. Zero environmental standards or enforcement. We’re building on every available inch of the West Coast and deliberately destroying the last mangrove wetlands so the majority of the surrounding watershed can be sold to developers. Previously protected environmentally sensitive land at Graeme Hall has already been re-zoned to allow development.

How does all that square with fine words by government officials this week in Bridgetown and New York?

Let the world know the reality. That’s the only way things will get any better.

Here’s Mr. Tourtellot’s email. We’ll fill in the emails from the other speakers at the conference as we find them… Continue reading

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

“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 a May 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 is the only wetland in Barbados recognized internationally under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar). It acts as a Caribbean flyway stop for migratory birds between North and South America.

The extensive 800 page study (download PDF here) prepared for the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary by Environmental Engineering Consultants of Tampa, Florida shows the Sanctuary has suffered a 77 per cent reduction in salinity in the past ten years due to an inoperative government-run sluice gate. The huge reduction signals “an inevitable failure of the mangrove ecosystem” as freshwater flora and fauna take over.

The study also cites damaging factors including: dumping of raw sewage into the wetland instead of the sea by the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant; contaminated storm water runoff originating from 1,150 acres of government-managed drainage systems; and, commercial and residential pollutants from adjoining properties.

“The government owned and operated sluice gate failure confirms our worst fears,” said Stuart Heaslet, an official with Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. “It means that as the mangrove forest dies, it will not grow back because freshwater plants are taking over.”

The original environmental investment in the Sanctuary was based on the area being protected as a brackish mangrove ecosystem.

“The study confirms that Government-controlled pollution is being dumped into the wetland.   Despite our formal offers of technical and financial assistance to government, there has been no response.  We can’t defend ourselves against pollution and environmental mismanagement outside our boundaries.  Bird counts are down, crabs are disappearing, and we are seeing environmental degradation everywhere.”

Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary occupies 42 per cent of the Ramsar wetland at Graeme Hall, and is owned by Peter Allard, a Canadian investor and philanthropist who has put more than US $35 million into the 35-acre eco-tourism site to preserve the last significant mangrove woodland and wetland on the island.

“The investment in the Sanctuary was supposed to be part of a sustainable environmental initiative, dependent on government leadership,” said Allard. “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.”

… continue reading this major Environmental Engineering study by downloading the PDF from the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

BFP Comments

We’ll have more to say tomorrow morning after we digest the entire study, but the first 20 pages leave us shocked, saddened and angry at the devastation being wrought by our government.

No doubt this will be a major discussion topic at next week’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development being held from May 9 through 12, 2010 in Bridgetown, Barbados. Here’s how the conference website describes the theme of this year’s meeting…

The theme for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s 11th Annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11) is “Creating Opportunities through a World Class Sustainable Tourism Product”. STC-11 will focus on how to capitalize on opportunities to enhance and sustain our tourism product by identifying and valuing unique and indigenous aspects of our tangible and intangible heritage which need to be conserved for the enjoyment of our citizens and visitors.

Issues to be discussed will include the need for destination stewardship and conservation of our heritage assets in the face of various threats; the use of innovation and creativity to develop, interpret and market our heritage tourism products responsibly; the financing of sustainable tourism projects; enriching the visitor experience and the role of public, private and non-governmental organizations and communities in doing so.

Valuable learning opportunities will be provided through the sharing of local and international best practices. Delegates will also be able to participate in interesting discussions and study tours that will showcase how the host country, Barbados, conserves and manages its natural, cultural and built heritage and addresses associated challenges.

Yup, a tour to the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary while reading a copy of the report should prove to be most interesting for the delegates.

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Trans-Atlantic airline woes continue: Increased volcano activity forces closure of some Irish/British airspace

Will UK – Barbados flights be impacted again?

The Iceland volcano is at it again – spewing ash that can shut down jet engines when concentrated – but aviation authorities are taking a more measured approach in declaring no-fly zones. Still, if you have a flight in or out of Ireland or Scotland, you might want to hold off packing that suitcase until you contact your airline.

Some of the closure details are found in the newly-posted Press Association story More ash misery for air passengers, but things change so be sure to look up the latest news for yourself if you are flying in the next few days.

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Unable to make a living in the real world, former Tourism Minister Noel Lynch plots return to the public trough

We heard a few weeks ago that former Tourism Minister Noel Lynch wasn’t doing so well out there in the real world where people expect performance, integrity and the ability to work alongside others without inspiring mass rebellion or multiple suicides amongst co-workers.

When Lynch lost his seat in the January 2008 elections he did nothing for almost a year and then in November 2008 took a job as a tourism consultant to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines government. Apparently St. Vincent was trying to replicate the failure and waste of money that Lynch engineered for Barbados during Cricket World Cup.

When or why that job terminated we don’t know, but the next we heard of Noel Lynch he had recently been hired by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. In our January 2010 article Former Tourism Minister “Instant Millionaire” Noel Lynch hired by Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, we said…

“Good luck to the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) – they will need it. The organisation hired defeated Barbados Tourism Minister Noel Lynch as its new Deputy Director General and Director of Membership.

Hey, we hope the CHTA has much more luck than Barbados citizens did in getting accountability and answers from Noel Lynch about where the money went when he was in charge.

Mr. Lynch was part of the cover-up that denied Barbados citizens any accountability for the hundreds of millions of dollars of their tax money thrown into the black hole known as the GEMS Scandal – Hotels and Resorts. And what a scam it was!

Then there was the disaster of the Cricket World Cup and the outright lies Lynch told us about the event even when it was plainly apparent to all that he was lying. Lynch settles upon a fiction in his mind and that becomes reality. Cricket World Cup was his baby and it was a frankenstein that will take us a generation or more to pay off.”

Lynch denied US work Visa

Today the Nation newspaper is reporting that Noel Lynch was denied a US work visa and this is why he has ceased working for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. That bit of news is probably true, but it inspires so many other questions not the least of which is… why did the US government deny such a high-profile former government minister a work permit for an organisation dedicated to the Caribbean?

Then we heard that is wasn’t really about the working visa – it was about the fact that Noel Lynch couldn’t get along with his boss and the board. Truth? Rumour? Who knows!

All we can tell you is that Noel Lynch and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association parted ways and Lynch is hoping to make a political comeback in Barbados. Lynch is hoping that the stupid voters have forgotten about Cricket World Cup, the GEMS Hotels money-pit and how he ran away from a talk radio show when the moderator asked him live on air how he became a millionaire on a government salary!

Sunday night was just like old times… Mia Mottley, Noel Lynch and Dale Marshall – three senior members of what was arguably the most corrupt government this country has ever known – at a public meeting calling for “accountability” from the David Thompson government.

You want accountability for politicians, Mr. Lynch?

Start with yourself. Have a listen to your cowardly performance on Brass Tacks Radio where you ran out the door when the issue of integrity legislation and your assets were raised. Here’s the YouTube recording where you ran away from accountability to the voters.

Welcome back to Bajan politics Noel. Your return is the best thing to happen to the DLP since Mia Mottley’s daddy bullied the Barbados Labour Party into making his little girl the “leader”.

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BBC’s Adam Mountford says “Barbados is Bringing It!” to cricket in 2010 – Much much better than disastrous Cricket World Cup 2007

Barbados and Bajans impress BBC Radio’s cricket producer

“So the big question is have the ICC and the local organisers learnt from the mistakes of three years ago? Well the first impressions are certainly good…”

… from Adam Mountford’s BBC blog article The importance of first impressions

That’s how Adam Mountford’s blog article starts talking about Twenty20 and it gets nicer and more enthusiastic as it goes along. Certainly the organisers are doing things differently, but the mood of ordinary folks is vastly different from Cricket World Cup because in 2007 we knew we were getting the royal shaft.

At Cricket World Cup 2007 we saw the empty hotels and empty harbour when Noel Lynch and Owen Arthur were announcing that every yacht in the Caribbean was heading for Bridgetown. We saw outrageous ticket prices and “no instruments” rules that were guaranteed to keep the locals away – and when they stayed away as predicted the Arthur/Mottley government tried to fill the empty stands with school children. And then there was Mia Mottley in charge of the worldwide visa disaster that saw (for instance) Australians being told at the last moment that they would need visas to attend CWC – when they didn’t need them before and many cricket fans were already on their way to Barbados! (BFP article: Cricket Visa Chaos: Mottley Worried About Legal Liability For Wrong Information and Visa Failures)

Did we all learn from Cricket World Cup? We surely did – but I have to wonder if the lesson would have been as well learned if the BLP was still in power.

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