Why Is The Senate Devoid Of Expertise Concerning The Number One Industry?

Adrian Loveridge – Hotel Owner

Whenever possible I listen to the radio broadcasts of both houses of Parliament, especially if there is a possibility tourism will be discussed. When recently, Senate members were responding to the budget, I paid particular attention to one speaker and was frankly shocked by the level of misinformation about our number one industry that was being disseminated. I thought that at any moment, one of the other twenty Senators would raise a point or order and everybody present would benefit from fact rather than fiction. Sadly, it didn’t happen, and I got to thinking that if tourism is really going to be taken seriously at all levels of governance, should we not have people in place that are sufficiently informed to make a positive contribution.

Looking around at the composition of the Upper House, it consists of lawyers, a captain of commerce, agriculturalist, financial advisor, clergyman, trade unionist, former diplomat, teacher, credit union manager, academic, economist, and a medical professor amongst others. In all, individuals, many of which have four or five decades of acquired ability and knowledge in their own fields of endeavour. But not a single tourism expert, with the length and breadth knowledge of the industry to ensure that all the combined expertise is maximised in this sector.

Perhaps it is unreasonable for everyone to be an thoroughly versed on every subject debated, but surely more homework has to be done to allow information proffered is constructive rather than destructive. While in the United States recently, I came across a small device called Square, which if introduced into Barbados and the Caribbean could transform the way many of our small businesses do business. Not just in tourism, but across most sectors. It fits into the audio jack of an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and android based mobile phones. Rather than the traditional credit and debit card processors with their variable rates, monthly and sometimes hidden charges, Square charges a flat standard 2.75 per cent merchant transaction fee.

Whereas, previously many factors could influence the discount rate and other fees you pay for the privilege of accepting charge cards, including length of time you have been in business, the type of business, percentage of your sales over the phone and internet, average dollar transaction, total dollar amount of sales per month etc. Many banks also will not offer merchant accounts directly to small businesses and use third party providers, which can also increase acceptance costs.

With Square, wireless technology enables even the smallest, most remote trader to accept payment electronically and often at a more attractive cost than current dominant processors. From a tourism perspective just think how many more smaller players would be empowered if they were allowed the flexibility and advantage of accepting payment by plastic.

On returning home, I sent the information to a credit union, local bank and one of the major telecommunications providers, hoping they would explore the potential. Sadly, weeks later, only the bank even bothered to respond. Perhaps the status quo currently protects existing near monopolies and it is not in their interest to drive choice and more competitive ways of doing business.

0 thoughts on “Why Is The Senate Devoid Of Expertise Concerning The Number One Industry?

  1. Mr. Loveridge

    I am amazed that you find the lack of knowledge of Tourism in the Senate to be surprising. Why should Tourism be any different from all other matters that come before Parliament. Debates in Parliament are extremely poor because of that same lack of knowledge that you are talking about on every subject. Haven’t you realized that Parliament is extremely poor and almost devoid of intellect.

  2. Mr. Franklyn,

    As someone that is so involved in Barbadian politics arn’t your comments a terrible admission?

    • @Caswell

      With respect, you are held up as a guru of activism because you are one to speak out. What makes what you do an indictment of Barbadians is that it is what most Barbadians should be doing as a matter of course. We need to participate in our democracy for heavenssakes.

    • Did the BU family not address this Square matter on an early blog? If memory suffices this is a technology currently limited to the US space.

    • The new president in an interview today suggested that the tourism sector is 75% owned by local (something to this effect). What is the measure the President of the BHTA used? Is it based on number of properties owned or by balance sheet size? We could not have expected the Nation newspaper’s finest to followup could we?

  3. Why Is The Senate Devoid Of Expertise Concerning The Number One Industry?
    –BECAUSE Freundel Stuart is a joker leading a bunch of jokers called the DLP
    Cant Wait for the election results

    BLP=29 SEATS
    DLP= 0 SEATS

  4. “Why Is The Senate Devoid Of Expertise Concerning The Number One Industry”
    Because the Senate is and has been, a waste of time and money now for over 5

  5. Sorry…
    …Because the Senate is and has been, a waste of time and money now for over 50 years.
    It is about pomp and show … And we like it so too…. That is why we have appointed the fine young lady to oversee the whole thing.

  6. Affonso-Dass: First in terms of management, at the senior management level across the industry, both in the large hotels and smaller businesses, the majority is local. As for ownership, it is now about 25 per cent foreign and 75 per cent local.

    I hope she is correct. but…..

  7. Note that the two properties she manages have in excess of 100 rooms so it is reasonable to believe she is qualified for the BHTA position.

    • @Hants

      The issue here is that tourism although 15% of GDP is a significant foreign exchange earner and there is the ancillary interest. We need people that can represent and champion this sector. It is against this background that we ask again what does this lady bring to the table?

  8. Maybe no one else stepped up to the plate or she is the best of the bunch.

    Let us see if she can influence the BTA.

  9. Mr. Loveridge (3:55)

    Where have you been? I have not been involved in party politics for a number of years, and I would find it hard to be involved with the level of politics that has infected Barbados. I have no problem with adversarial politics but ours has become just nasty. It has reached the point where quality persons are shying away from politics leaving people who previously would have been on the lunatic fringe to be elected and eventually become part of the Cabinet.

    By the way, have you listened to the debates in the House lately? As a country, we have been embarrassed to hear our MPs struggle to construct simple English sentences or even make sense in the process.

  10. The composition of the senate should be fixed with at least thirty significant interest groups represented. What we have of course is, and has always been a sham. All of the money that was spent by a previous administration to “broaden and deepen” the style of democracy was wasted since the result was simply to redistribute the seating arrangement between Government, Opposition and independent in a way that Government would still ALWAYS carry the majority arrangement. What a f#cking waste of time …

  11. David/Hants,

    Regarding the foreign and local ownership issue.
    I am not even sure there is evidence to support ANY accurate figures.
    What do you include?
    All registered properties, the hundreds of non registered rooms, the condominiums, apartments, hotels that have their legal domicile overseas
    (ie: British Virgin Islands or Caymans). And what do you call foreign? Our little hotel is owned by a Barbados registered company and the shareholders (my wife and I) have immigrant status.

    I am afraid that there is a MASSIVE amount of accurate data missing in our tourism industry and decisions are so often made in a vacuum of misinformation.

  12. And very important, I forgot to include the ownership of villas, as it is commonly believed that we have more villa rooms than luxury hotel rooms.
    As I have said many, many times before, how can you market a product effectively, when you don’t know exactly what it is?

  13. @Caswell
    I agree with your comments absolutely,with respect to the poor performances of our current members of parliament.Even one like Dennis Kellman who likes to preface all his comments with the words”for the semple reason that”and another frequent phrase”I have said sence 1968(or some such long ago time)but nobody doan listen”Recently he has been shown on TV reading from a prepared script and its obvious he struggles to read.He looks and sounds like a class 3 student who has not grasped the basics of reading(head swinging from left to right like he’s watching a game of tennis,and does not looking into the camera).Besides Stuart and Estwick,all the other DLP MP’s are pathetic.

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