Mr. Le Hunte Did You Give Owen Arthur This Advice Also?

On the other hand Le Hunte, Barbados National Bank Managing Director and Vice-President of the Barbados Bankers’ Association (BBA), called on the administration to adopt measures to keep inflation down. In order to do this, he advised Thompson to remove duties and value added tax on some food items.

Source: Nation Newspaper


Robert Le Hunte – Vice President (BBA)

Why is this man advising Prime Minister David Thompson on matters quoted above? Sorry Mr. Hunte but we need to rap you on the knuckles; you are out of place on this one. Our Prime Minister is already on record, as recent as yesterday, confirming that strategies to arrest the high inflation is at the top of his agenda. Did you offer this advice to the former PM?

34 thoughts on “Mr. Le Hunte Did You Give Owen Arthur This Advice Also?

  1. BU,

    Your hatred of black Caribbean people is repulsive.

    If it was your white foreign idol Adrian Loveridge you would be singing his praises.

    Robert Le Hunte is obviously TOO BLACK and TOO CARIBBEAN for the likes of hypocrites like you who come fresh from preaching sermons on Christianity.

    Crabs in a barrel.

    Hating Your Own Colour @ ! b ! f ! p ! e !

  2. how would le hunte expect the country to operate if the taxes and VAT are removed from the items he mentions. Will he able to bear the increase in personal tax that he would have to bear for such a reduction to take place,

    Don’t forget the DLP plans to give priority to achieving and maintaining a balanced budget while allowing for small manageable fiscal deficits where necessary to facilitate the development objectives of the country.

  3. Dear David,

    It is a shame that some people consider that they add to their argument by being abusive on this blog, but I am also puzzled by your annoyance at Mr. Hunte.

    If I recall the DLP manifesto, it also called for a reduction in duties and VAT in order to reduce prices – which is what Mr. Hunte is encouraging the government to do. It also seems that a CEO of a major financial institution is expected to say something about pressing economic issues – especially when he is encouraging the government to do what they say they are going to do.

    Now that you remind me of our new government’s manifestor, I also recall thinking that (a) duties and VAT were already reduced on those items we do not produce locally, (b) the manifesto also calls for protecting local producers, by keeping duties on products that we produce here and (c) that duties and VAT raise a significant chunk of revenue that we cannot give up if the government also wishes to reduce government debt.

    Some of the issues that appeared to the opposition as simple negligence by the government, will prove harder to tackle now that the opposition is in government.

    Don’t get me wrong. I wish the new government well and hope they will succeed in reducing the cost of living, they are right to identify it as a serious issue, but I am a little flummoxed over how they are going to do it.

    I think one way would be for customs and excise to develop an internet portal where Barbadians can access on-line shopping abroad and where they pay duties and VAT at the point of purchase and these goods can then be shipped directly home, so no need to hang around at the port while they lose your barrel for weeks before they make a casual assessment for an assessment of duties and VAT.

    This would solve the problem of our market being too small for their to be real competition and for consumers to benefit from economies of scale. Breaking up local distributors will not solve this problem.

    Warmest Regards, Thomas

  4. We do not know what the expenses are but….

    Peach and Quiet Hotel Rates

    22 rooms in total

    Ocean View Rooms = US $109 per day (VAT not included)

    Garden View Rooms = US $99 per day (VAT not included)


    22 rooms @ US $109 = US $2,398 (BDS $4,796)


    22 rooms @ US $99 = US $2,178 (BDS $4,356)

    At full occupancy, Loveridge is raking in around BDS $4,500 PER DAY from room rates alone. That’s a whopping BDS $135,000 a month (30 days).

    Note: Accra Beach Hotel allows FREE CHARGE for children under 12 years sharing a room with 2 adults.

    Peach and Quiet does not allow children under 12. (This reduces hotel cost because there are no children to feed.)

    Methinks that more black Bajans should pool together and open a hotel. Very lucrative indeed, nuh?

  5. Rolling in the Dough $$$$

    I am suprised you have restricted your ambitions. If you are going to strive for something, try and think a little larger.

    Sandy Lane – 112 rooms
    Lowest cost room (January 2008) US$1,300 per night (BDS$2,600).
    Highest – US$4,900

    So lets do the same excercise on the cheapest room!

    112 X BDS$2,600 = BDS$291,200 per night or a ‘whopping’ BDS$8,736,000 per month.

    Of course both calculations are BEFORE expenses such as:

    Staff wages
    Corporation tax
    Pool chemicals and upkeep
    Landscaping and gardening
    Replacement of furnishings and general equipment used.
    Accountants fees
    Licence fees

    etc, etc. etc.

    And if you are going to compare Peach and Quiet with Accra and their ability to give what you suggest if free food to children under 12, what are their room rates?

    Now has someone got the figures for GEMS( Hotels and Resorts Ltd) ?

  6. I think Le Hunte is trying to cover his fanny.

    His boy Owen is no longer in power and he is seeking not to be marginalise.

    This is simply an act of disperation on his part. The DLP does not need his advice.

    He can save it for use in the distant future when Mia becomes PM.

  7. Thomas and others we have written before on our disappointment with how BNB has managed its Mutual Funds. Le Hunte is always boasting about how well the bank is doing but he never talks about his Mutual Funds which have been under-performing the market.

    We also have questions about the ease with which BNB was able to get to finance the ABC project and the Condo project in Dover. We want Mr. Le Hunte to come clean to the public on all matters.

    We have no problem with a banker providing financial advice to the market.

  8. I really agree with Anonymous X over bank charges. Reductions in the cost of living can begin with bank charges. Given the levels of profits declared by the banks, it’s the least they can do to get the ball rolling. As for reductions in duties, it has been proven time and again that this will not lead to reductions in prices, just bigger profits for the distributive and retail trades.

  9. Adrian Loveridge,

    Don’t panic. Don’t turn red. It wasn’t Sandy Lane who came to this blog complaining about PENSIONS for retired members of parliament.

    When you as a WHITE FOREIGNER can come to Barbados and make GROSS SALES in the vicinity of $135,000 A MONTH, with your hotel FULLY BOOKED as it is at present, then you lose any right to complain about BLACK BARBADIAN members of parliament being entitled to pensions ranging from $5,731 to $7,642 per month.

    It rather shows me that you have benefited well enough from the environment in which you were operating over the past 20 years.


  10. Adrian Loveridge,

    YOU SAID: “Of course both calculations are BEFORE expenses such as: Staff wages,
    NIS, VAT….”

    With the exception of those smaller ones which are not VAT registered, VAT is not an EXPENSE to businesses, except for arrears and penalties.

    You know very well that businesses only collect VAT from their sales and pay it in to the government.

    Please don’t try to MISLEAD anyone here.

    Certainly a hotel like yours with gross sales in the vicinity of $135,000 a month would legally be VAT registered, so you know how it works well enough.

    Not all of us black people are maids and gardeners of limited education, you know.

    Thanks to Errol Barrow, we have something called education to prevent people like you from pulling the WHITE WOOL over our eyes.

  11. You are WAY OUT OF LINE, Anonymous. Firstly, race has nothing to do with the success or failure of a hotel. Secondly, the amount of gross revenue any business earns is irrelevant unless the level of expenses is also known. The poverty of your argument was exposed in your concentration on VAT, which I believe was just another item among many that Adrian Loveridge listed. Thirdly, anyone, ANYONE entitled to vote in this democracy is also entitled to a political opinion. Thirdly, anyone who pays personal or corporation taxes has a right to question how those taxes are spent. So keep your bigoted opinion on race to yourself, and concentrate on learning about those things about which you seem to be most ignorant.

  12. Le Hunte (his name rhymes with something) should comment a bit on how his bank’s agressive lending to Barbadians has fueled a consumption binge and actually contributed to increasing inflation pressures in Barbados. His is probably the most irresponsible and reckless bank on this island in this regard.

  13. peltdownman,

    1. I never said that race had anything to do with the success or failure of a hotel.

    2. Mr. Loveridge himself will tell you that VAT is NOT a business expense. VAT is collected by businesses and paid in to the government.

  14. OkayAnonymous, I concede that VAT is not a business expense and should have been excluded from the list. There were 15 other headings for expenses mentioned. Any comment on those? By the way, maids and gardeners are hard working and respectable people for the most part, and I would guess that, having to make ends meet, they probably know more about economics than you do. You must be one of those “middle class” heights and terrace people – looking down on the rest of us.

  15. Hey, the DLP needs all the help it can get. Le Hunte’s advice is sound but nothing new. I was saying the same thing months ago (go back and check). I would only add that duties on all regional food imports should be eliminated not reduced. It doesn’t make sense to “protect” bloated inefficient industries.

  16. peltdownman,

    “maids… gardeners… economics… You must be… middle class… heights and terrace people… looking down on the rest of us.”


  17. peltdownman,

    “maids… gardeners… economics… You must be… middle class… heights and terrace people… looking down on the rest of us.”


  18. Mr Le.Hunte would do well to tell us all about these elusive BOLT agreements that he and his band financed under what has now become very suspicious circumstances.

    I am sure that PM Thompson will seek his advice otherwise if and when required…

    We would also like to know something of the liabilities created to us taxpayers with this ABC project in particular.

  19. David,

    Finance is my thing. No one forces you into a BNB mutual fund. If you are not happy with BNB mutual funds, switch. There is Fortress in Barbados and Barbadians can buy into any of the mutual funds listed on the TnT and JA stock exchange (CSME and all that).

    We do need a more competitive environment for our savings as well as supermarket goods and once it has had time to review the matter I hope the new government will pursue the previous government’s idea of establishing an international asset management industry in Barbados with spillover benefits to locals.

    I don’t know the situation personally (my friends don’t like Mr. Hunte, but I do not know him and have not yet formed a view) but if First Caribbean and RBC did not get a fair crack of the whip in tendering for the mandate to raise funds for the ABC Highway they would have said so loudly and clearly.

    It’s a big chunk of debt and it would be hard to force repayment if the borrower goes into default (what are you going to do, close the highway? Charge a toll?) so I am not sure if I were First Caribbean that I would have bid for the mandate in the first place.

    I think high bank charges and poor service are a major issue in Barbados, but this is not unique to Mr. Hunte’s BNB. I am sure fellow readers have tales of woe at other banks too.

    Warmest regards, Thomas G.

  20. Thomas G thanks for volunteering that finance is your cup of tea, it is one area we have struggled to fully articulate on the blog. After all we are just simple people.

    The point we are making i.e. that BNB Mutual Funds have underperformed the market is separate from being able to switch. Surely existing BNB fund customers would be concerned about erosion of the initial capital investment and on top of that the fee to close the Mutual Fund account. For many Barbadians who are immature about investing in Mutual Funds the BNB Mutual Fund has become a bane.

    Maybe you can send us a note on your thoughts about Mutual Funds in the Barbados market and related issues which we can share with the BU family.

  21. Mr Gresham, I “invested” in the BNB mutual funds and regret it. I cannot switch as you suggest until at least five years have passed as I recieved the income tax rebate on those mutual fund purchases. I am not confident that BNB is concerned about the performance of their mutual fund portfolio.

  22. Citizen First,

    I am not surprised by your sad story. The mutual fund industry in Barbados is small and uncompetitive, the fees are high and, in some cases, though not all, the managers are not as competent as they should be. One very strong exception to this rule comes to mind, but few others. The high penalities to switching reinforces the laziness and incompetence of managers.

    Of course, the market could be efficient and full of experienced competent people and you could still lose money. Markets are fickle and the long-term rewards come with significant short-term risks. There are few guarantees of performance with equity mutual funds. Indeed, I would not recommend that ordinary investors have a significant chunk of their savings in equity mutual funds in the first place, except through managed pensions.

    I do not believe that BNB Funds have suffered poor performance as a result of fraud – though I am not convinced that the Central Bank or Securities Commission would know for sure. There is not much you can do against lazy mangers other than to exit the fund and suffer the penalties.

    Mutual fund investors do have some rights and you should consult your prospectus to see if a group of fund holders can pressure BNB to change the management of the funds. Perhaps BU could be a focus point for disappointed investors in BNB funds to organize.

    Another route would be to call up the Barbados Securities Commission and complain to Virginia Mapp that your fund provider is not acting in your best interests. This may be more useful than you imagine.

    Going forward, let me emphasise the importance of diversification, including that of your fund companies. Perhaps if your exposure was spread across to Fortress funds as well the overall performance would not be too bad. And recall that global equity market funds are having a hard time at the moment.

    I also think the new government should look at the previous government’s plans to develop Barbados as an asset management centre and progress what is good in those plans so that the skills and scale this would bring could be used to the advantage of local investors too. My understanding is that issues that hold back the fund management industry in Barbados are (a) exchange controls and (b) the legal system. It does not appear that reform of these aspects are currently a high priority for the new government.

    Good luck.

  23. This post is most imformative and educational.

    Mr David I think this is the type of information that merits its own thread.

  24. Thanks for your response Mr Gresham. I am more than aware about the risk associated with investing in ANY mutual fund. I fully concur with your comments especially those in the last paragraph. In a moment of pique, my post was further prompted in response to reading that Mr Le Hunte was giving advice to the new Government instead of addressing investor concerns about about BNB’s mutual fund management and BNB’s wider governance issues which I am only now being informed about (i.e. after investing).

  25. Did I read somewhere that Mr Le Hunte has been made Chairman of the new “Export Barbados” agency? Will that still stand, you think?

  26. Amazingly Le Hunte could focus on criticising the cost of living issues instead of concentrating on his core competencies. Bnaking has performed well because of high bank charges, direct and carif and it’s time bajans try to minimise credit card debt and repay loans within the due dates to avoid late penalties and high interest costs. The government has significant social service components that BNB does not have to facilitate to drive their cost structure up. Cost of living issues are mainly due to lack of competition especially in the supermarket sector, as the BLP[ government stook idly by and watch several supermarkets fold (JulieN, BudgBuy, Less Frills, Ricks, etc). Unfortunately vocal persons like Mr LeHunte tend to have a preference for SuperCentre so these issues are of no concern as they never supported those black entities, but ironically call on us mass barbadians to support their businesses. Bajans are such suckers it’s unbelievable. Well only time will tell now what happens regarding competition in the supermarket business……

  27. Bush tea // January 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Mr Le.Hunte would do well to tell us all about these elusive BOLT agreements that he and his band financed under what has now become very suspicious circumstances.

    I am sure that PM Thompson will seek his advice otherwise if and when required…

    We would also like to know something of the liabilities created to us taxpayers with this ABC project in particular

    Bang on Bush Tea.

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