Tag Archives: Barbados Business

Loveridge: A competitive world means businesses must perform or fail

monkey-business-barbados.jpg

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

From a tourism perspective and many other sectors, it is almost impossible to comprehend how so many businesses seem to think they can trade to an optimal degree without maintaining a fully functioning and up-to-date website and/or Facebook page.

Also surprising is the number of local companies who take to the air via radio or in print with ‘ads’ promoting new products, but have simply not thought through any potential consumer response, especially in terms of disseminating details like price, sizes, varieties and availability.

Do they realistically think that possible buyers are going waste time trying to extract the details in a protracted phone call and that’s assuming that the person on the other end actually knows anything about the item(s)?

Of course there are notable exceptions, but certainly in my experience, frequently emails are not either answered at all, or days go by without a timely response.

In case some have not noticed our world has become increasingly more competitive and many ‘buyers’ simply will not wait for prolonged periods, when often they have responsive alternatives a simple click away.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking

Small business waiting two years for VAT refunds from Barbados government

Is Government really serious about Small Businesses?

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

After nearly 25 years running a small business on Barbados, I really wonder if the current Government, or in fact previous ones, are serious about encouraging small businesses and nurturing entrepreneurship.

Yet once again, we have been waiting for up to two years for various VAT refunds. If we are one day late submitting a return, a late filing fine and interest are payable, but clearly this is just a one way penalty.

Currently the following refunds are pending. 2010/07 period – $5,347.95, 2010/09 period – $7,675.73, 2011/07 period – $7,124.28 and 2011/09 period – $4,569.53.

So a total of $24,717.49 outstanding. Consider the strain on the business if we are paying overdraft interest on that amount.

Despite Government imposing a massive 16.6 per cent increase in the rate of VAT, it would appear that this hasn’t had any improvement of the level of efficiency. The private sector has been forced to absorb huge increases in most of our operational costs, while trying to maintain employment. Yet to the best of my knowledge, not a single civil servant has lost their job or witnessed a salary reduction.

In fact, to the contrary, it seems almost totally morally incomprehensible to see that certain public workers have taken delivery of  gas guzzling, luxury vehicles during a period of severe austerity.

The current Minister responsible for small businesses is very vocal and heard almost daily on the call-in programmes with a whole range of opinions. But now is the time to get off the phone, stop talking the talk and do more of walking the walk.

The late repayment of VAT refunds is not new and has been going on for years. Trade Associations representing various sectors have made repeated appeals but seemingly on deaf years.

If the current Government really wants the economy to recover and soak up high unemployment, it is going to be led by small businesses. Now is the time to give your support and ensure our massive civil service does the job they are well paid for.

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BLP & DLP Governments’ stupid refusal to pay Al Barrack cost Bajans $35 million dollars

Government’s motto: “Delay, delay – never pay.”

by Nevermind Kurt

We read in today’s Nation that “Minister of Housing and Lands Michael Lashley says his ministry is working feverishly to have contractor Al Barrack paid the more than $70 million owed to him.”

If memory serves, the truth is that Barbados once owed Al Barrack ‘only’ about $34 million dollars for the Warrens office building debacle. The Owen Arthur BLP government refused to pay, went to arbitration and lost large – ending up owing about $50 million dollars after a 2006 judgment.

“For the next two years the BLP government refused to pay, deciding instead to beat Al Barrack through the simple Bajan tactic of lawyering him to death and waiting for him to die.”

The BLP government’s story was that the country couldn’t afford to pay the lump sum and Mr. Barrack was unreasonable for refusing to take a ‘very fair offer’. Mr. Barrack described the ‘very fair offer’ as a dollar now and a dollar a day for the rest of his life. For the record, Mr. Barrack’s version is probably closer to the truth than the government’s.

The clock kept ticking and the interest compounded frightfully as interest does when it’s not being paid. Ask any Bajan fool who has missed a credit card payment – it’s not a pretty sight.

Enter the DLP

The Thompson DLP government inherited the mess when they won the election in 2008, but they too decided that the answer was to keep Al Barrack at bay with years of false negotiations punctuated with court battles to keep him from selling the assets of the National Housing Corporation. Minister Lashley says the government tried to ‘give’ the Warren’s office complex to settle with Barrack, but the truth is the government fought for years to prevent that happening and then changed its mind when the economy tanked and took the building’s value with it.

What’s changed now? Why is the government suddenly appearing so contrite and anxious to keep Al Barrack hopeful? I’m not sure if this is another delaying tactic, or the government has heard the rumours that Barrack is about to go ‘nuclear’ on the international legal scene and that he has found the financial backers to do it.

The times, they are a’changin

As we recently saw with a legal conflict involving the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA), ‘globalism’ is a many-edged sword that sometimes allows people to seek justice internationally when they cannot find justice in their own countries. In Grenada’s case, a Taiwan bank obtained a US Court order that allowed them to seize all the fees normally paid to the the Grenada Airports Authority by airlines flying to Grenada from the USA.

BFP said in a previous post

“Can you imagine what would happen if some court in New York or London ordered airlines to pay all Grantley Adams airport fees to the court over the Al Barrack debt? How about port fees for cruise ships too?

Wuhloss! That would put the mongoose in with the chickens! If that happened you can bet the government would settle with Al Barrack right away – and that just shows how bankrupt our government is: both financially and morally.”

Maybe our master Bajan economist Owen $ Arthur can chip in some money from one of his offshore bank accounts. After all, it’s only fair that he assist to pay off a financial mess that he and his government initially created.

Nevermind Kurt

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

Barbados Court does government’s will: Tells Al Barrack he’s screwed

AS IF the Barbados Courts would really rule against the government for $65 million!

Contractor Al Barrack is owed $65 million by the Government of Barbados and the Barbados justice system ruled that he is owed the money for the office building he constructed – or at least started to construct until unknown and hidden caves under the building site changed everything.

Oh, but now he wants his money or to seize and sell the building and other government assets to help pay what the government owes him. Ha! Fool that Barrack is! He thought justice was for all.

The courts will keep this man going round in circles until he dies because on an island of fewer than 300,000 people EVERYTHING is politics including the court. Doing business with the government of Barbados is fine, fine so fine… until something goes wrong. And then, my friend, you have to turn to the government run courts to seek “justice”. As so many have found, the courts will keep you going round and round for ten or fifteen or twenty years and by that time you’re crazy looking for justice and you dress in whiteface and hold signs and stand on the corner and shout and be laughed at.

Beware when you do business with the government of Barbados, because the court is the government and the government is the court.

Like we said in our past article Al Barrack gets it wrong again – it’s not racism, it’s business as usual

“All because a government construction contract went bad FOR THE GOVERNMENT because of an unknown cave under the project.

Welcome to the wonderful world of doing business with the Government of Barbados, Mr. Barrack. Like a male praying mantis seeking a little love, it’s thrilling but often ends badly for the little guy.”

mostly contributed by Al’s Friend.

Strong language removed by Auntie Moses.

Here is the latest on the Driving Al Barrack Crazy and enjoying every minute of it story from Barbados Today. As usual we ask BFP readers to read the story at Barbados Today, but we’re reprinting the entire story here because you know how the press changes history ’bout hey. Haven’t caught Barbados Today doing that just yet, but ya never know!

NHC break

Court rules stay on Al Barrack writ against government

by Shawn Cumberbatch

The protracted and controversial battle between the National Housing Corporation and Al Barrack, over the $65 million the state agency owes the contractor, has taken a new and significant turn.

Barbados’ High Court has just put the brakes on a previously-issued writ of fieri facias commanding the chief marshal to sell the NHC’s “goods, chattels and property” to clear the massive debt, saying if such was allowed to proceed “the statutory functions performed by the corporation at its various locations across Barbados, and in particular at its head offices at Reef Road would be severely dislocated without (Barrack) achieving any substantial reduction in the amount owed”. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Culture & Race Issues, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Race

Al Barrack gets it wrong again – it’s not racism, it’s business as usual

It’s not about Justice denied because of race: it’s about no rule of law in Barbados and… revenge

Poor Al Barrack dressed up in whiteface yesterday to illustrate his belief that the 100% black government of Barbados is not paying a court ordered judgment to him because he is black. Barrack says if he were white, the government would pay up.

Maybe he’s saying that ordinary folks are nothing to our government, that if he were white he would be respected. (Ahhhh… but if Al Barrack was white, would he have been awarded the government contract in the first place? Was he merely the right sucker in the right place at the right time, or, was it all a big accident that could have happened to anyone?)

We at BFP don’t believe it’s about race. We think it’s about business as usual in Barbados: when political elites from either the DLP or the BLP form a government, they do whatever the hell they want – the rule of law and the courts be damned. It’s always been that way. The party in power uses the law when convenient, and ignores it when the law is inconvenient.

It has always been that way.

Before we talk about how revenge factors into the Al Barrack story, let’s quickly review how Barrack arrived where he is in the first place… Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Culture & Race Issues, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Race

Tourism MATTERS – New column by Adrian Loveridge in Barbados Business Authority

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner.

The Nation has agreed to publish in the Barbados Business Authority, a weekly column dedicated to tourism written by myself  from Monday 13th September, 2010 entitled Tourism MATTERS.

The column will be about 500 words and offer topical, constructive, objective views with some alternative suggestions to grow our tourism industry. It will be non-partisan.

I feel in many ways, that even bearing in mind the global economic challenges confronting us that we are missing so many marketing opportunities and in many cases our thinking has become stagnant. Continue reading

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Medical transcription business collapse raises questions

UPDATED: April 18, 2012  (Pinned at top. Scroll down for newer content)

We’ve heard some conflicting rumours that the lawsuit against Robert Harvey is 1/ “About to be launched” or 2/ “languishing and won’t be going forward.”

Two years after the collapse, one would think that if a lawsuit was going to happen it would have happened by now. Can any of our readers assist? Has anyone heard anything more?

UPDATED: September 14, 2011

Lawyer contacts Barbados Free Press about potential lawsuit

Barbados Free Press today received an email from a lawyer asking for further details on this story in preparation for a potential lawsuit against Robert Harvey and some companies.

Would the lawyer please contact BFP through your regular email (not from your mobile device) so we know it’s really you.

Thanks! (barbadosfreepress AT yahoo.com)

Invest Barbados spins the story to save face

Last week Robert Harvey, the president of Transcription Relief Services (TSRi), quietly flew into Barbados from the USA, fired his remaining 24 employees and shut down the joint private-government business that launched only 18 months ago.

Today, Invest Barbados CEO Wayne Kirton (photo left) says that the project is “on hold” and will be revived when the demand for medical transcription (MT) services returns. According to Mr. Kirton the failure is all about “the recession”, low demand for the service and nothing else.

Barbados Free Press believes that Invest Barbados is in damage control mode. We’ve discovered there is much more to the story – much more. Continue reading

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Barbados law requires 4 week response for new radio station approval – 74 weeks later, Paradise FM still waits

How to chase away business from Barbados

The Barbados government talks a good line about wanting to assist investors and business people. They talk a good line about the wonders of doing business in paradise.

And then there’s the reality…

Mr Terry Bent – Having finally calmed down from speaking to the Secretary of the Broadcasting Authority yesterday, I can now give you the latest update on our progress, or lack thereof.

Paradise FM Ltd filled in a 9 page form in July 2008. In May 2009 we were finally interviewed for 45 minutes. Now, over 6 months later, they apparently want us to answer further questions, which they decided upon 2 weeks ago , but have not yet sent to us!

I pointed out that the Law states it should take 4 weeks from receipt of application to making a decision (including the interview) and was told they had changed the law. I asked for a copy and was told it had not been approved yet, so I said “So it has not been changed yet” and was told it had in their eyes! I asked what the new timescale was, but they could not answer!!! (Because they have not changed it yet)

…read the full story at The Bajan Reporter Paradise FM has been waiting

Why Aren’t We Surprised?

Hmmmm…. maybe Mr. Bent didn’t hire the right “consultant” before putting in his application. You know how important it is to have the right “consultant” to “advise” on new business ventures in Barbados. “Consultants” make the process go smoother…

Unless the public steps in like with Matthew Kerins and his waterpark adventure. According to Mr. Kerins, he paid some 2 million dollars in “consultant fees” and then Prime Minister Owen Arthur met with Kerins and gave his blessing for the Caribbean Splash water park on the Graeme Hall watershed.

The public had other ideas though and Mr. Kerins lost his “consultant fees”. A word to the wise about “consultant fees” in Barbados!

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The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Franchising Presentation with Regional Expert Mario Sabga-Aboud: Wednesday September 30th

BCCI President Glenda Medford

BCCI President Glenda Medford

Franchising – A Catalyst for Economic Development

There are strong and opposing views in the Barbadian business community over the granting of a licence to open a franchise of the American fast food chain Subway in Barbados. Some members of the business community object to Subway setting up shop citing the threat of job security during an economic recession as one reason.

Nevertheless, Barbadians like several of their CARICOM neighbours are no strangers to including fast food in their diet.  Indeed, over the years a number of well know outlets have sought to make their stake on the local market only to pull up stakes shortly thereafter.

Yet many view franchising as an attractive investment option, since a few Barbadian entrepreneurs outside of the food industry have franchised their operations across the region and beyond and continue to reap success.

Pizza Boys CEO Mario Sabga-Aboud

Pizza Boys' Mario Sabga-Aboud

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry is facilitating discussion between the differing viewpoints with a Special Presentation from Mr. Mario Sabga-Aboud, Chairman, Pizza Boys Group of Companies as he addresses the topic ‘Franchising – A Catalyst for Economic Development’ creating opportunities for a very enlightening and stimulating dialogue on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 at 12 noon at Hilton Barbados.

Contact the Chamber to make your reservations now, seating is limited.

Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Tel:   (246) 620-4750
Fax:  (246) 620-2907
Email: bcci@bdscham.com
Website: http://www.bdscham.com

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Working Together: Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Barbados Youth Business Trust

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) has just signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT). This MOU will serve to streamline networking plans and events between the BCCI and BYBT, who share a common mandate.

BYBT is a 12 year old NGO youth entrepreneurship development organisation. The Trust is a registered charity helping young men and women, ages 18-35, who are unable to get start-up capital from existing commercial institutions, friends and families. The BYBT focuses on start-up loan capital, business mentoring, business affiliated grants and ongoing and consistent business and social support.

The Chamber is one of Barbados’ oldest NGO’s, a voluntary non-profit organisation with over 200 companies counted in its membership. It is the focal point for companies and businesses to network and improve cooperation – and provides one strong voice to raise members’ concerns with government and the public.

This article was adapted from a Press Release received from the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry Enlists New Marketing Communications Executive

Ian Bourne

Ian Bourne

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry in meeting the current economic challenges of Barbados through effective and efficient communications with its stakeholders has announced the appointment of Mr. Ian Bourne as its new Marketing Communications Executive.

Chief Executive Officer of the BCCI, Magnus Whitehead, says that Bourne will strengthen his organisation’s ability to communicate with its members, government and local and international business partners.  We are pleased to welcome Ian as a member of our team. Following the development of a three-year Strategic Plan in 2008, Ian’s appointment brings us closer to fulfilling our restructuring process and achieving our objectives, says Whitehead.

Bourne, familiarly know as a former Anchor for CBC-TV 8’s Evening News, has several years experience in marketing communications, the most recent as Public Relations Officer with a government statutory organisation.

Bourne says that while grateful for his time with his previous employer, which he views as another family, he nevertheless looks forward to reviving certain initiatives of the BCCI and developing new ones. He says he appreciates and is looking forward to the challenge of carrying forward the directives of the BCCI during a very challenging financial period.

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