Tag Archives: Consumer Issues

Barbados In 2025: More Cars, More Roads – Or Light Rail Transit, Fewer Private Vehicles?

For all the money wasted by our glorious leaders in the past ten years, we could have had a light-rail solution half way around the island. Instead, we’ve had ten years of more roads, more buses, more cars every morning – all heading to the city. Most of the private vehicles have only the driver.

This article was as true as the day it was written almost six years ago, probably more true…

Barbados Free Press

Our Current Failed Vision Of Barbados Transportation, Society and Daily Life

barbados trafficIf you think our roads are crowded now, if you think that your time spent getting to and from work or school is unreasonable, if you think our quality of life and environment in Barbados is heading for the suckwell – just close your eyes and picture how Barbados will look after another ten or fifteen years of continuing to implement the same transportation “solution” of more cars, more roads, wider roads and ever more cars.

Is that where you want to see Barbados in the year 2025?

Unless we get some vision and leadership around this place, that is exactly where Barbados is headed.

View original post 675 more words


Filed under Barbados, Barbados History, Barbados Light Rail Transportation, Barbados Transportation, Puffing Billy Train

LIME TV frustrating tonight – bad picture and zero service!

LIME TV Barbados

This evening the reception on Lime TV is abysmal, the buffering circle is going mad. I ring LIME on 1 800… and listen to everything requiring a button to be pressed except Lime TV. The Lady singing about the benefits of LIME is most distracting, when after 10 minutes of waiting, nothing happened, no reply. I thought LIME service was on Island now? Is it just me, but does LIME want customer satisfaction? Because I am NOT receiving it. At the moment they are not achieving anything.


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

When banks charge morgage interest rates like credit cards… it’s called USURY

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

A couple of days ago we approached our bank about rates for a commercial mortgage and were quoted rates of between 11.5 and 14.5 per cent interest.

Yet only recently I saw an article where the banks were attempting to pressure the Central Bank to lower the interest rate paid to depositors from the current minimum of 2.5 per cent.

How can we in the private sector and Government, at least giving lip service to encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurship, tolerate ludicrous spreads like this of 9 to 12 per cent?

We are already forced to accept a level of poor service that would simply not be put up with in the countries where many of these banks have their origins: Unanswered voicemail messages and because its almost impossible to speak to a human being, lengthy and time wasting queues. There are endless delays in trying to procure critical documentation. Managers feel they have no obligation to respond to the written requests of their customers.

Small wonder that the President of The Bankers Association stated that 43 per cent of the non-performing loans were in the tourism sector. How on earth with all the other escalating costs can any small business service an interest rate of 14.5 per cent, let alone repay the capital.

This is an area that Government must intervene.


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

Anonymous email making the rounds about Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Ltd.

Barbados Free Press editor’s message: Folks, we received several copies of the following unsigned message. Each came through anonymous emailing services out of Germany, The Netherlands and possibly Russia. The message is anonymous and might or might not be containing wrong information or out and out lies. We have no way of confirming any of it: but as our readers will see there are certain informations that ring true and that we’ve heard elsewhere.

We’re going to print it and see whether our readers can make some sense of it. Now remember, folks: the people who are mentioned in this anonymous letter volunteered to be in public positions of trust and therefore are prepared to take some public vetting once in a while. Most people everywhere are hard-working and honest, so remember that as we discuss this letter and try to determine how much fire is under this smoke…

On the Ides of March – BPWCCUL has 14 days to respond!!!

The last blog posted regarding BPWCCUL has resulted in the wrongful dismissal of several workers including a very hard-working and honest Finance Manager, the continued harassment of an equally honest and sincere Internal Auditor and a professional and competent IT Manager. It has also triggered the running of two Directors who I’m glad to see the back of and the resignation of the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee. We only hope the Financial Services Commission is taking note.

As a pre-cursor to the Annual General Meeting it is essential to fully ventilate the issues and therefore we shall be posting on a regular basis to try to make sure that what has happened at CLICO does not happen here. In this situation more than fifty-thousand Barbadians would be affected.

This first post is a friendly game of 20 questions but if the Board is not forthright with members then it will be escalated with severely damaging information. Nothing short of the stepping down of the BPWCCUL President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Director Marilyn Mapp, Director Keiva Cadogan, the CEO, CAPITA’s Chairman, Deputy Chairman and CEO will avert this course of action.

These issues have not been raised officially with the Supervisory Committee because that has proven to be 100% ineffective and impotent. Remember, money talks and once Supervisory Committee members are offered trips to attend meetings across the Globe, they forget their duty and chase after a Board position.

So the 20 questions:

1.    Who is the individual or firm that was paid nearly half a million dollars in fees to provide services during the Credit Union’s acquisition of CLICO Mortgage and Finance Corporation? Why was there no contract and no Board approval or knowledge of the transaction and what is the relationship between this individual and the CAPITA CEO? Was this relationship declared to the Board in accordance with the Act? Was this the single-largest fee during the acquisition? Is it true that neither the legal fees nor the due diligence attracted fees this high? What services could have cost so much? And were there any BPWCCUL Directors who benefitted financially from this transaction? Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

Tests show LIME boosts speed temporarily when user complains, but then…

click photo for larger

“This is robbery on any scale”

Good morning Lime team,

I am at my whit’s end with Lime and it’s service.  So if the internet service that Lime has been extorting me for over the past 6 to 8 months is not resolved and my account credited in some way, for the months that the deficient internet service which payment is mandatory, by the end of this week you (Lime) can cancel your less than mediocre Broadband internet service and come to collect your superfluous equipment.

This is ludicrous.  Too long I have been having this issue with below standard internet after having increased my service on this new account since I moved house.   I have called the helpline and reported this issue.  After not hearing anything from anyone at Lime, I called again to be told that there was no record of a previous complaint.  I unwillingly reiterated and made another complaint and was told a technician would contact me within 48 hours.  Well, 5 days went by before someone from Lime called.  Some tests were conducted and the speed surprisingly was up again.  Within a matter of 4 shocking days, the service speed dropped again.  So it appears that I am being charged full price to only receive ‘80% of the 1.5mbps’ service, but only actually getting .59mbps to use on a good day. I am sure this is robbery on any scale.

“After speaking to a few Lime and IT technicians I happened to know, I paid for someone independent to come to my house and perform a few tests on your sub-par Broadband service.”

His summation was that the line attenuation is too high as it should be around the 100 mark, the SNR should also be lower; and that the Ping test to the Lime server is taking too long to return.  You can find attached the screen shots of the tests carried out, pay close attention to the date.  (Speed test, ADSL and Ping). And yes, to date not a damn thing has changed.  I would have to say the internet service that I am mandated to pay for religiously each month is not good enough and a waste of my hard earn money, especially in these economical times.

I recently visited friends in St. Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.  To my disgusted surprise, they pay far less for their internet and get more than we do in Barbados for their personal use. Almost everyday for the 2 weeks I spent in St. Lucia the family was simultaneously Video streaming to the television, children on Kindle and iPad, and laptop played online radio stations.  Now its only myself and my brother at home here in Barbados.  We have very demanding jobs and do not use the system like my friends in the other small islands.  Pray tell me, on an island like Barbados which is more developed, how are majority of Lime’s customers paying substantially more for such a poorer rated purportedly High Speed Broadband Internet Service?

Like I said, if my long-standing internet issue is not resolved by Friday, February 24th, 2012, which would prove even more outrageous, you can then consider this as my written notice to discontinue the internet service provided on (246) xxxxxxx and collect your unwanted equipment.

I am no longer prepared to be duped and robbed by a conglomerate such as Lime.

Yours truly,

(name provided but withheld by BFP editor)


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Fed up customer complains about Big B price gouging

“I have no doubt that this is something they’re used to doing and I’m pretty sure my complaint will fall on deaf ears.”

by Fed up consumer!

Like every other disgruntled consumer, I am used to buying ordinary supermarket items at exorbitant prices.  I’m used to seeing UK foods marked with a £1.00 price tag, only to be sold at nearly 3 times the exchange rate, however it really boils my blood when I come across an item marked as ‘15% more free sheets’, being sold with a more than 15% mark up!!  To make matters worse, the regular item, with 88 sheets was sitting just above it for $7.15.

Yesterday I went into Big B supermarket, picked up the roll for $8.36 then backed tracked to see if I was indeed getting a bargain.  To my dismay, I saw the regular item on the shelf being sold at a different price.  I promptly complained to manager Mr. Christopher Durant, who assured me he will mention it to the powers that be.  My reply was “I have no doubt that this is something they’re used to doing and I’m pretty sure it will fall on deaf ears”.

Anyway, on my way out, Mr. Durant caught up to me to let me know I had “got it wrong”, as I was comparing the tissue roll I bought with a different Kleenex brand.  I insisted that I was indeed correct and followed him to the shelf where I saw the ‘regular’ 88 sheet roll at more than $1 less.

In Mr. Durant’s haste to point out my mistake, he brought my attention to the fine print under the ‘15% more free sheets’, where it read, ” *102 sheets sold to to the retailer at 88 sheet pack”.

Needless to say, he didn’t have much more to say after that.

I will be sending this email to the Supercentre head office, also to whatever trading standards/consumer watch programs we have ‘representing’ us.

Sign me: Fed up consumer!


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

High-wire Robbery by Barbados Light & Power

By Orlando Burke

My most recent electric bill showed a significant increase. My energy charges totaled $252.50 while the fuel charge was $549.16. If paid before the discount date, the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) would reward me with a discount amounting to around $30.00. I will not be hooked by such insignificant bait.

Originally, fuel was an input in the production process of the BL&P; now it is both an input, and an add-on. An apt analogy would be the case of a baker selling a loaf of bread and charging extra for the flour used to make it.

Currently, Barbados is experiencing challenging economic times. A period characterized by lay-offs, calls for Unions to exercise wage restraint, and the common sight of persons having to leave items at the cash register in the supermarket.

I am concerned that in such an environment, the BL&P, a private monopoly appears comfortable in recording a profit of $54 million. While it is accepted that investment in a new plant facility, as alluded to by an official of BL&P in the Nation Newspaper, Sunday Sun edition of 28th August, 2011 maybe necessary over the long term, there is still no justification for the super-profits recorded by the Company. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Energy

Barbados Light and Power delivering RUBBISH electricity

Do we have any power quality standards at all?

Has anyone noticed the electrical RUBBISH coming out of the AC outlet in the wall… or is it just me?

My APS battery backup on the floor is constantly going tick-tock as it compensates for fluctuations in local electricity supply.

Several times a day the supply is so bad/under-current/’noisy’ the computer shuts down!

I looked into the software that communicates with the APS unit on the floor to discover the recorded history:

OVER-Voltage-  NEVER!
Under-Voltage: 35 times.
Electrical ‘noise’ – 193 times.

What a marvelous supply history you have, Barbados Light & Power!

by “P”,

photo of harmful current courtesy of Enetics, used for illustrative purposes only. Not a BL&P chart.



Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Energy

CL Financial disaster: Did Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira get her money out?

Afra Raymond digs deeper…

“The 325 (CL Financial) shareholders are listed alphabetically, as at 7th September 2008, with details of their occupations and addresses also supplied.  Of course, that list shows, at #289, the then Minister of Finance – Karen Nunez-Tesheira – as Karen Tesheira, Attorney-at-Law – holding some 10,410 shares.”

“Another thing that is striking is that Lawrence Duprey would appear to have only three blocks of shares in his ownership –

  • #47 – CL Duprey Investment Trust – holding 1,634,335 shares, but we are unable to find the details on that company.
  • #78 – DALCO Capital Management Company Limited of #37 Frederick Street, POS – holding 1,947,833 shares. I am assuming that DALCO is a play on his initials – Lawrence Andre Duprey LAD, reversed.
  • #302 – Trustees of CL Financial Limited – holds 119,145 shares.

I am taking that to mean that Lawrence Duprey had under his direct control a maximum of 3,701,313 shares – i.e. 49.35% of the group’s entire shareholding…slightly less than half.”

Further Reading

Afra Raymond posted a story with CL Financial’s Annual Return filed 2009 and as usual he’s like a terrier worrying a bone: he won’t let go. Good for you Afra! Keep at ’em!


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law

FirstCaribbean International Bank fees up. Service? Well that’s something else…

The Increase in Bank fees. Is this reflective of the Customer experience?

by Alison Weekes,

Fifs, MSc, Int.Dip.Comp
Banking & Compliance Professional UK

I note with interest the various comments in relation to the announcement of the increase in bank fees by FirstCaribbean International Bank. We will in the coming months, see whether the strategic plans and income structure of the other competing financial services firms in Barbados will dictate that they too will have to increase their fees.

One wonders where`s the customer’s place in all of this. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

Arsenic in our food? Keltruth looks at the frightening reality of what we eat…

Does Barbados allow the addition of arsenic to chicken feed?

While surfing the net yesterday I came across the latest from Keltruth Blog…

“Most chicken growers in the US add arsenic to the feed. One such additive is the antibiotic arsenic compound roxarsone. Arsenic additives are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but have been banned in the European Union since 1999. The FDA has been petitioned to ban arsenic, but as far as I know has not acted.”

… from Keltruth Blog’s article Are Most Americans Consuming Meat Laced with a Deadly Poison?

Yikes! I’ve heard all kinds of stories about the food we eat, but never anything about the deliberate introduction of the deadly poison arsenic into our foods. Whatever for? Aren’t there any alternatives available?

The Keltruth article sources many reports and incidents of poisoning and it makes me wonder if arsenic is added to the chicken feed made in Barbados. Strangely enough, one of the people who might know the answer to that question is none other than our Supervisor of Insurance,  Carlos Belgrave. Continue reading


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues, Health

Still not liking the taste of your “new” Pine Hill Dairy milk? Here’s why…

UPDATED: July 6, 2012

The recent trade dispute between Pine Hill Dairy and the government of Trinidad and Tobago is about package labeling – according to the news media.

With the ongoing dispute as a background we thought we’d revisit this article by Dr. Lucas that explains why you still can’t stand the taste of the new stuff, er, milk…

The following article was submitted to BFP by Dr. Robert D. Lucas.

Pine Hill Dairy’s “new” milk

Recently, in the local press, concerns have been raised about the labeling as “Fresh” and the refrigerated storage of ultra-pasteurized milk (UP). Pine Hill Dairy (PHD), in an attempt to address these concerns, placed full-page advertisements in the press. I will now explain the concepts of pasteurization, sterilization and fresh as applied to food products. A critical examination of the PHD advertisement is also given. Continue reading


Filed under Agriculture, Barbados, Consumer Issues

Price of a potato in Barbados: $4.63 PLUS 6 cents for the plastic bag!

Plastic bags being sold to customers by weight: at the same price as the produce

I went to buy a potato from TriMart Supermarket, yes the same with the potato last week. Ingrunt me decided to ask the cashier to weigh without bag as the $4.69 was too much. People that damn bag was costing me 6 cents would you believe! From ingrunt to foolish, now to wise, I told cashier even at the new price of $4.63 me nah buy that potato.

The plastic bag was being sold unknowingly to me and at the same cost-per-pound of a potato. That is Highway Robbery!

Kammie Holder


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Environment

Costly Lesson For Caribbean Businesses: HP Hewlett-Packard Products Have No Warranty In Barbados – How About In Your Country?

Second Update: November 12, 2010

First issue: the person involved with the complaint about the HP Printer Warranty as described in the attached letter eventually received satisfaction from HP.

“This has all been sorted with On Line with the help of Public Council, but it should not have been so difficult to contact & get response from HP. My quarrel is with them not On Line. HP only give a 15 day (thats right) 15 days guarantee, the businesses here make it up to whatever, that’s what HP stipulate, you either put up with it or don’t have HP products legally here.”

Given that HP have just opened a new store in Sheraton Centre (nice bit of reporting on that at Barbados Today 11/11/10 edition), does this warranty issue and the 15 day guarantee still apply?

What is warranty and return policy of the new HP Store? If HP wants to leave a comment or send us an email (barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com) we’ll be happy to give it fair exposure right here at the top.

Updated: November 12, 2010

Thanks to BFP reader Politically Tired for letting us know about a proposed settlement in the HP Hewlett-Packard LaserJet case.

Details can be found at the website HP LaserJet Printer Litigation, Case No. CV 07-00667 AG

We’d also like to know if the person in our original story every received satisfaction from HP…

Mark Hurd HP Warranty

Barbados Business Learns That HP Will Not Honour Colour Laser Printer Warranty In The Caribbean

Mr. Mark Hurd
Chairman of the Board, CEO & President of Hewlett-Packard

Dear Sir,

On 25th April I bought a CP1515n colour laser printer from On Line Consultancies here in Barbados SN ********** FOR $*** Bds. After a short time it began to malfunction, I returned it to the retailers on 25th June, they have a 30 day guarantee, then its down to you. A case # was eventually procured & I was told to call 1 800 711 2884 so I could arrange to have the replacement printer sent by UPS within two days. Since then I have spent approximately 13 hours on the phone to HP trying to be put through to the right department, but as yet no luck, I have been put through to people in Canada, US, & Mexico, none of which can help me as they can’t ship to the Caribbean. Your staff at the Caribbean/Latin America # either have the wrong information/not trained/or what? you tell me, I’m at a total loss as to what to do next. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

Poisoned Chinese Drywall In Barbados? Makes Homeowners Sick – Corrodes Plumbing, Electrical, Air Conditioning

 Corroded Air Conditioning Coils Due to Chinese Drywall

Corroded Air Conditioning Coils Due to Chinese Drywall

Over 100,000 American Homes Possibly Have Poisoned Drywall

Second Largest U.S. Homebuilder Ripping Out Chinese Drywall

This is big folks. During the last four years made-in-China drywall has been used in over 100,000 homes in the United States — and it turns out much of that drywall is giving off fumes that sickens people and pets and corrodes metal. Dozens of homeowners are suing builders, suppliers and manufacturers over the drywall in their homes that is emitting smelly sulfur compounds, poisoning their families and making their homes uninhabitable and impossible to sell.

“This is a traumatic problem of extraordinary proportions”

… Representative Robert Wexler, Democrat Florida, introducing a bill in the House to temporarily ban Chinese made imports.

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to ban Chinese made drywall imports until more is known. Scientists in industry and at various levels of government are finding that the Chinese drywall contains lower grade materials and different compounds and chemicals not found in domestically manufactured product.  Some of the problem drywall carries US private brand labels even though it was made in China.

How Much Chinese Drywall Entered Barbados?

Both the current DLP and past BLP governments embraced China in a big way — allowing Chinese construction personnel to work on many projects in Barbados. The Chinese  Communist government provided many gifts and much support to the country [and probably to the politicians as well].

How much Chinese drywall was imported into Barbados in the last four years? Have there been any complaints from homeowners? Is there any connection between the Chinese drywall and the increases in asthma and respiratory diseases as recently reported by the Barbados medical community? Has any of the Chinese drywall been used in schools, churches, parliament, police stations and other public buildings?

This newly revealed Chinese manufacturing disaster is only the latest in a long series that should cause every consumer to look closely at any made-in-China product.  The trouble is that consumers are not easily able to spot poisoned drywall, melamine-poisoned milk products, children’s toys covered in lead paint or mercury-laced fish products.

What Will the Barbados Government Do Now?

As I write this, the Associated Press breaking news about the US legislation to ban Chinese drywall is less than five hours old. You can bet that governments all over North America and Europe will be talking about this and implementing assessment and contingency planning. We would like to hope that our elected representatives and government employees will also be right on this issue that has the potential to result in significant health and economic problems for Barbadians.

Over to you, Mr. Prime Minister… What are you and your government going to do about this?

Further Reading

Associated Press: Chinese Drywall Poses Potential Risks

Wall Street Journal: Chinese Drywall Cited in Building Woes

Photos Courtesy of: www.ChineseDrywall.com


Filed under Barbados, China, Consumer Issues, Environment

Cable and Wireless/LIME Made Over A Billion Dollars Profit Last Year – A Pity They Didn’t Invest Some Of That In Customer Support

“The past day has heard me screaming loudly and boiling internally at the ostrich called “LIME”. I am reading books on arson as I write. The story in brief, and it’s not the first time. “Catch 22″ has nothing on this…”

… Dennis Jones of Living In Barbados blog considers suicide, arson and a number of other solutions after experiencing the (smirk) “Customer Service” offered by LIME-Cable & Wireless. If you hate Cable & Wireless/LIME because of their couldn’t-care-less attitude to customers, you’ll know exactly what Dennis is talking about.

Living In Barbados Blog: Bredda Jackass Gon’ on Holiday

From the Nation Newspaper article $1b C&W Pie

“(Cable & Wireless) Customer satisfaction in the Caribbean grew by 11 per cent to 78 per cent, lowest customer satisfaction rating of any of the operations listed.
C&W’s Panama operations recorded customer satisfaction of 94 per cent, Macau’s was 95 per cent, while Monaco and Islands’ recorded customer satisfaction of 93 per cent.”


Filed under Barbados, Business, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues

Cable and Wireless – LIME Abused Customers Facebook Club

“C&W = Costly & Worthless…  LIME= Lazy Ignorant Money Eaters”

I recently stumbled upon a new facebook group called: C&W = Costly & Worthless…..LIME= Lazy Ignorant Money Eaters

Has anyone visited this page before if I’m not this late.

I’m quite surprised that this title and a new facebook group gave me a smile so far. I wonder, we have Caribbean united to share their views on this Telecommunications Giant that sat on these Caribbean Territories for many, many years. And yes we do experience the mediocre services, high-costs, plagues on our Caribbean shores.

The Group has a motto:

“If you ever received a ridiculous bill at the end of the month for service u never had, if your internet keep cutting off, if your service ever got cut waayyyy before time. If you want better service from the so called “leaders in communication” JOIN US!!!”

Their membership is almost reaching to 300 people.

Well it’s up to you whether you wish to join or not but unless we work together we cannot accomplish anything. A single customer’s voice is nothing. A thousand is something else.

… submitted by a BFP reader



Filed under Barbados

Barbados Business and Government Hesitate To Use The Term “IP” (Internet Protocol) – Why?

Short answer: Money.  Hundreds of millions of dollars per year, in fact…

Longer answer: IP leads to what is known as Next Generation Networks (NGNs).

State Of The Art Technology At Our Famous Bajan Telephone Tree!

State Of The Art 1950's Technology At Our Famous Bajan Telephone Tree!

While the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) AKA the Public Switched Telephone Service (PSTN) dealt with a single 64 kb/s dedicated circuit (which always takes a single route) between two users to provide two-way, real-time audio (read: voice) service, the Internet deals with datagrams between multiple users using the best route available at that particular instance.

The fundamental issue is that the traditional telephony providers are used to charging a *great deal* of money for providing these dedicated circuits.  This is where the *money* is…

Along comes the Internet, which views voice as just another “data service”, along with video, the web, data exchange (read: BitTorrent), and real-time “presence”.

In the “Developed” world, the Providers have had to face the competition of the Internet head on.  This is why long-distance (read: International) rates there are something like USD $0.04 a minute or less.

Here in the Caribbean, the Providers have somehow (and I’ll be careful here to not tell you exactly how) convinced “Those in Power” that Consumers should not be able to use the technology available to their own advantage.  “It could affect Tax Revenue!”  (Read: The Providers are making stupid money, and the Governments (and others…) are taking a (*very*) small cut of this.)

At the end of the day, our region is being prevented from having affordable access to telecommunications services for the benefit of a very few — most of whom are not actually within the Caribbean.  We are being prevented from being able to compete on a level playing field, for the simple reason that we can’t communicate as we should and must be able to.

We, as a People, are being hindered in our progress for the benefit of those “away”.

Kindest regards to all.

Chris Halsall



Filed under Barbados, Business, Consumer Issues, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption