From the Mouths of Politicians

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Sadly every five years or so, we have grown accustomed to, and sometimes forced into hearing some pretty outrageous utterings from those that either represent us in Parliament, or who aspire to. A video recently posted on YouTube [St.Michael North Nomination – Ronald Toppin MP] really grabbed my attention, features such a person, while addressing his constituents. Perhaps the phrase ‘political silly season’ explains this situation graphically.

I quote verbatim. ‘The Barbados Tourism Authority owes $42 million’, ‘is in serious debt’ and is literally ‘running from bailiffs around the world’.

Perhaps from an ordinary citizen, these comments could simply be disregarded as pure speculation, but on this occasion, they were spoken by the Shadow Minister of Tourism. Despite the video being widely distributed, no statement in rebuttal, up until the time of submitting this column has been made by the current actual Minister of Tourism or a spokesperson for the BTA, so we are all left to speculate if these statements are factually true.

Mr. Toppin was rather vague on what exactly the quoted $42 million owing covered. Does this include the $30 million loan taken out to subsidise the disastrous chartering of the cruise ship, Carnival Destiny, for instance, which of course, took place under the previous administration.

Knowing the worldwide coverage of social media sites, the question that really has to be raised, are these seemingly ‘informed’ comments in the national interest. To remind readers that YouTube is the most popular video sharing site and the second largest search engine, only after Google.

Did this person consider the incalculable harm that could be inflicted on the reputation of the destination. It would be almost impossible to function as an effective national marketing organisation without the support of advertising agencies, public relations companies and the various forms of paid media. Let alone the airlines who currently service Barbados, that Mr. Toppin also mentioned are supposedly owed monies. We have already lost substantial airlift and gateways including Philadelphia, Atlanta and more recently, Dallas/Fort Worth.

The video also appears to have official Barbados Labour Party approval as it was posted by BLPNews, which has a direct link to the opposition website. Of course the slowness in the BTA settling its bills is nothing new. Many will tell you that it has been going on for years. What is surprising, is the amount quoted and why has it has been allowed, if correct, to have lingered on so long. Especially, when the current Chairman has a degree in accounting and spent a number of years with one of the world’s largest auditing firms. Surely, he is kept fully briefed on financial matters and realises the damaging knock-on effect this could have.

When for instance, the next tender goes out, either for renewing an existing account, or replacing the current advertising agency, I cannot imagine any reputable company pitching for the business, would not conduct fiscal due diligence to gauge a potential client’s track history of prompt settlement.

With so many critical issues already challenging our number one foreign currency earner, is it too much to hope, that the contributions made by our politicians, either in power or opposition, leading up to the election are constructive and enlightened.

24 thoughts on “From the Mouths of Politicians

  1. With all due respect Mr.Loveridge the shadow minister is led by an opposition leader who after fourteen years as a prime minister would have made several contacts,and as such does wield tremendous influence here and abroad.There may well be some truth to the story that he has been warning others not to do business with this government.

  2. Mr. Hill,
    the purpose of this column is to establish the truth and if the Shadow Minister of Tourism is credible and informed. I think all of us that make a living out of tourism and the taxpayer has a right to know.
    It is certainly going to influence who I vote for.

  3. We should not forget that Toppin resigned in a huff and a puff as Minister responsible for the FTC and never graced the public with an explanation. It is the nature of how we do politics in Barbados. No accountability required.

  4. @ David | October 29, 2012 at 8:24 AM |

    That might be true about Toppin’s arrogance and scant regard for the electorate.
    However, his public claim that the BTA is broke financially must not go unchallenged by the DLP administration especially in the light of the Minister of Finance recent assurances that the government or its agencies are NOT experiencing any ‘unusual’ cash flow problems. This is a serious allegation and has greater implication for this country financial image overseas than the BWA’s leaked letter. Why has the incumbent Minister of Tourism gone all silent? Is he sick or has he replaced the PM as the sleeping RIP Van Winkle?

    The allegation made by the shadow Minister of Tourism needs to be countered and proven wrong especially now that it is known that a number of statutory bodies owe away millions to creditors and in serious breach of the law by not paying over statutory payroll deductions from employees.

  5. @Loveridge “I quote verbatim. ‘The Barbados Tourism Authority owes $42 million’, ‘is in serious debt’ and is literally ‘running from bailiffs around the world’”
    “Perhaps from an ordinary citizen, these comments could simply be disregarded as pure speculation, but on this occasion, they were spoken by the Shadow Minister of Tourism. Despite the video being widely distributed, no statement in rebuttal, up until the time of submitting this column…”

    The government don’t have to rebut it…let the accuser prove his/her case and if so then the government would have to answer

  6. @ FrankTalk | October 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM |
    “The government don’t have to rebut it…let the accuser prove his/her case and if so then the government would have to answer.”

    Does this same principle apply to the charge by two Ministers of the Crown that the Opposition have agreed in secret to plans to fire 10,000 public sector workers?
    Or should these same members of the Cabinet be made to reveal the source of this “information” in a Court of law just like the Nation newspaper might be forced by Hal Gollop to explain why it stole the “leaked’ BWA letter?

  7. @Miller. Agree with you. Up to the Minister to refute the statement. BUT, it is also the responsibility of the “shadow” minister to ensure that he is not guilty of misleading the electorate especially at this time. So, it is as much the duty of the Minister to refute as it is the shadow minister to reveal his sources. One has to assume that as he has made a public statement, he must have the documented backup. So, may we please see it. And, Minister, we would like to hear from you too – nay, we INSIST on hearing from you too – otherwise we can express our disapproval and sanction you at the ballot box.

  8. @Miller

    His response was that the BLP trying to muzzle him by bringing a suit.

    He said if the BLP privatise and or divest from the CBC, Transport Board, GAIA, Port Authority etc does the public believe the employee strength will remain at the same level. Words to that effect.

  9. @ David | October 29, 2012 at 5:14 PM |

    Did he also explain his administration’s commitment to the IADB reduce emoluments and transfers to the statutory agencies? He himself in his last budget presentation committed the government to a programme of divestment to finance projects in the tourism sector.

    He needs to tell the truth and say that the government whether B or D must reduce or should we say, “rationalize”, staffing levels and costs to achieve any programme of divestment.
    Notice that OSA seems to be a follower of this forum of discussion. He often repeats thing written on this blog. The call to get rid of the CBC is top of the agenda of any future government. In it’s present form that corporation’s days are numbered

  10. We all agree that the Barbados civil service is inefficient.

    Why would a private company buy and run a business with incompetent or inefficient employees?

    do the math. 10,000 x $100,000 = a massive saving in employee cost.

    Privatization will result in job cuts and improved efficiencies and profitability.

  11. Question. Are ministers expected to spend the rest of the pre elections time responding to accusations by opposition members?

    For the record. No reputable North American Advertising Agency would refuse to do business with Barbados.
    The terms of the contract may include a 20 or 30% upfront payment.

  12. economic hit men tactics!they will soon if not already have a puppet government in place that will grant them the permission to build all around the whole coast line or drill for oil in Barbados waters .
    pay back is a bitch.
    coming soon.

  13. @ millertheanunnaki

    It was reported by CBC that while at a DLP St. James South branch meeting, Sinckler charged that Opposition Leader Owen Arthur held secret meetings with Mascoll, Wood and Tyrone Barker at the University of the West Indies on a plan to retrench 10 000 public servants if they regain the reigns of government.

    Now in an effort to save face and more so during an impending law suit, the political savvy Sinckler has now juxtaposed the much touted privatisation (to which he also alluded to during his last budget presentation) to the alleged “secret meeting”. However, Mascoll subsequently denied the charge since, according to him, he was in London on a three-week holiday during the time this alleged meeting took place.

    In this context, Sinckler’s explanation about the 10,000 is nothing more than political diatribe, and therefore cannot be accepted as being a reasonable response.

  14. Hants.

    the word ‘May’ is very apt.

    Please tell me the last advertising agency that worked for the BTA and who were paid 20 to 30 per cent upfront?
    Name the company and which years.

  15. review of paynes bay beach taken from TripAdvisor
    1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012 NEW

    we arrived on the 17 on the princess we really had no plans just walk outside and see what comes and my wife.
    well as soon as we exited the gate there were taxi men suggesting island tours and beaches.
    one of them told us about paynes bay and we said OK lets go.
    after a about a half hour drive we were dropped at a little alley leading to a beach.
    as we walked down we were already being asked for chairs and umbrellas which the price was not bad so we got one.
    as we shed our clothes to expose our bathing suits.immediately a comment was made about my wife.fresh meat or something like that.i just let it go as my wife is very pretty.
    we went into the lovely water whee we were attacked by jet ski men talking loud and rough
    quarreling amounts each other about who would get us to go.
    we declined and nasty comments said he would take my wife for free, laughing.
    now i am 6 foot 7 and 245 lbs and a martial arts expert.
    i certainly did not want to start a fight so i took that again.just barely managing to hold back my self.i must admit i did not expect such nasty behavior on a island used to tourist.
    finally after the glass bottom boat asked us if we wanted to see the turtles and we said no thanks we went to lie in our chairs and i went to get us some drinks from a little wooden bar
    just cokes as we don’t drink.5 dollars bds for a coke .wow.
    as i returned to my wife a local man was trying to sell her a message said his name was Dr love
    we said no thanks as where his hands were before would be not known and i don’t really respect strangers wanting to rub down my wife thanks.we sat and chatted at he beauty of the beach.then some more locals tried to sell us jewelery ,he made a point of sitting on my wife’s chair within her personal space.she looked at me not happy.
    so i told the man we did not need anything right now but thanks.
    he also made a comment about my wife.something like to his friends shouting man i would love to hit that.
    that was the last straw form me and my wife.
    we decided to leave so we walked back down this little alley where by some locals we were questioned why we leaving.i said i was looking to go some where else.they touched me and tried to guide me back to the beach.
    i refused and words and slang was used .i asked for a taxi and one was there happily.
    we returned to the ship disgusted at the nasty ways of the locals.we went back to our room balcony and suntanned feeling relieved to be away from such bad vibes i would call it.
    now i could have beat all those guys with one hand but i just wanted to get out of there with no trouble.i will never return there again,as i do not want to end up hurting anyone.the islands before had none of this.very good to know.
    were leaving
    Visited October 2012

  16. @ Harry callihan | November 2, 2012 at 2:55 AM |

    I believe what is written by the cruise ship visitor actually occurred. I have witnessed similar verbal harassment and sexual advances on many occasions.
    Many people from the UK complained incessantly about harassment and verbal abuse from uncouth local males on the beaches, streets and other places.
    Barbados is constantly receiving very poor reviews and reports of this nature do not augur well for the future of this once vibrant industry.

    The ‘premium’ has now been dropped from Brand Barbados and next year will spell its death knell unless radical and immediate changes are brought about in the tourism industry environment. We just can’t blame the international recession on this one.

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