When Political and Investment Considerations Intersect to Affect the NIS Fund

In response to an an exchange between David of BU and Hal Austin on the NIS Dumps 21 Million Dollars in Apes Hill Development blog, respected Barbadian actuary Walter Blackman responded with a comment deserving of deep thought and rich discussion by Barbadians everywhere – Barbados Underground

Hal Austin March 31, 2017 at 11:53 AM #

I know it is fashionable to blame individuals, but should we not be blaming the minister, who is ultimately accountable; the chairman of the NIS, Justin Robinson, and members of the investment committee; and the person(s) who carried out the due diligence? In any case, this is not an investment, but a loan. Is the NIS authorised to make commercial loans to private businesses without the approval of parliament?

David March 31, 2017 at 3:29 PM #
Know this is a busy time for you but an opinion on this matter given your expertise would be valued.


I don’t believe that the governance structure of the NIS has undergone any radical change in its 50-year existence, so I will state these pointers from memory, as a means of steering the discussion in the right direction:

The NIS Board is a corporate entity with a corporate seal. It can transact business in its own right. The National Insurance FUND was established under the control and management of the NIS Board. However, when it comes to the fund, there are two instances where the practical power of the Board either intermingles with, or is superseded by ministerial power.

One, the Board with the approval of the Minister responsible for Social Security, may write off sums of money from the fund as losses.

Two, any monies belonging to the fund may be invested by the Board in whatever manner, and in whatever securities, that the Minister responsible for Finance may direct.

The Minister responsible for Social Security, and the Minister responsible for Finance are two political positions which, by nature, tend to put political considerations first. For example, in the realm of extreme probability, whilst a directed NIS investment decision can end up in hundreds of millions of dollars forever being lost, it may provide invaluable political benefits. Additionally, hundreds of millions of dollars can be written off as losses to the fund, in instances where borrowers have the capacity to repay. Such decisions might prove to be injurious to the fund, but may be calculated to provide excellent political payoffs.

The governance structure does not subject these extreme positions to any “prudent man” rule at the transactional level, so any “blaming” would have to manifest itself in political terms at election time. Of course, this depends on how vigilant or sensitive the electorate is to the management of NIS funds.

In the 2013 general election, our current Minister responsible for Finance, the Hon. Chris Sinckler, would have been subjected to a great amount of “blame” for the millions of NIS funds which were considered to be wasted on ill-fated projects. The electorate held him to be “blameless” and returned him to parliament. It is highly likely that the electorate will return him to parliament when the next general election comes around.

Our current Minister responsible for Social Security, the Hon. Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, is seeking to avenge the political defeat she suffered in 2013. With respect to the NIS fund and any associated problems, her political opponents will be expected to highlight instances, if any, where she injudiciously approved the writing off of monies, owed to the NIS fund, as losses. If they cannot do this, then she must be viewed by the electorate as totally and completely blameless when it comes to any mismanagement of NIS funds.

I tried to keep this comment short and simple whilst simultaneously tackling Hal’s questions. I have also deliberately left some dots to be connected by the more thoughtful and discerning BU readers and bloggers.

190 thoughts on “When Political and Investment Considerations Intersect to Affect the NIS Fund

  1. What Hess heiress, Cow married some dried up minority woman from St. Vincent…the Hess family are Americans.

  2. Ya on track Tron….but what is even more unattractive than anything else to investors, is a nonfunctional judiciary and a gaggle of mediocre lawyers who never want to see cases end in closure, no investor wants that and word has spread that neither government will ever fix the judicary….

    …..ya have a current dumb attorney general who refuses to do any work to reverse the damage and former attorneys general whose corruption caused the destruction of the judicary. …and it’s well known.

  3. “On page 12 of our favourite daily John Goddard in a letter to the editor states:”

    Isn’t that the same Goddard that went snitching to the US Embassy on the fools in parliament, if he had a conscience he would admit how much of that money was stolen by or loaned to Simpson, Cow, Bizzy and Maloney…money that belongs to the black majority taxpayers and pensioners.

    But they are all dishonest like the yardfowls we know and live in their own delusional fantasy world….ya cannot thief respect or status and expect it to last forever.

  4. I have warned about locals assembling at the various high commissions and embassies. They are spying networks for social organisations..

  5. Well Well

    There is also a John Goddard who taught at Harrison College……….a lousy, lazy, untidy teacher who messed up many a student and who slept through classes when he should have been teaching Barbadian children.

    He is also a dlp yardfowl……….a party which for him has never done a wrong to the people of Barbados.

    • John Goddard was at St.Georges Secondary wasn’t he and is said to be PM’s Stuart’s friend?

  6. Now we see why the country cant progress and remains stagnant Prodigal….and every minister of government condones and enables that disgusting behavior in minorities.

  7. Wow

    Chief Executive Officer of Rubis West Indies Limited Mauricio Nicholls told Barbados TODAY his company remained confident in the Barbados economy despite its challenges

    In the mean time BU and the Barbados Labour Party members and supporters continue with their vain exercise of trying to convince sensible Bajans that Barbados Is the worst place in the World.


  8. Prodigal Son April 7, 2017 at 2:34 PM

    So how is he different from MARY REDMAN’S lazy bunch who take every opportunity to miss school altogether and “march” leaving the children at school to fend for themselves?

    You BLP supporters are real jokers. As a matter of fact I think that you have to be an idiot first to be a Barbados Labour Party member or supporter.

  9. de pedantic Dribbler ,
    As a result of an earlier exchange between us, I observed that you were pretending to be more stupid than the village idiot. You did not fool me then. You will not fool me now.

    Here you go again, trying to operate under the guise of Brer Fool (the foul-mouthed pieceuhdecockyeahright would have certainly called you Brer C….) when in fact you are functioning as a “bomber”.

    I went to great lengths to pitch this discussion at the NATIONAL level. I argued that the two national POSITIONS related to the management of NIS funds (the Minister responsible for Finance, and the Minister responsible for Social Security) are political in nature. I looked at the current functionaries in those positions and assessed the extent to which I thought they were either immunized from, or exposed to potential political risk, based on their role and performance.
    Via additional comments aimed at suffocating partisanship, I made the point that the NIS is a political football which successive administrations have always kicked around.

    The NIS is an extremely important institution as far as retirement and other employee benefits are concerned. Hundreds of thousands of workers have made contributions over their working lives and they expect to receive their pensions when they retire, until they die. For some, it is, and will be, their only source of income.

    If we are going to help Barbadians understand the source and nature of the threat confronting the NIS, and the risk this threat poses to their old-age existence, then we must educate them in an environment that is not conducive to the use of disruptive or brainwashing techniques. Of course on BU, and in the wider Barbadian society, this is a difficult, if not impossible, undertaking.

    Some modern day rabble rousers, masquerading as bloggers, want us to believe that the kicking around of the NIS funds started recently, or that only one particular administration has done all of the kicking. I have endeavoured to bring balance and clarity to the minds of such bloggers.

    By now, it should be clear to most BU readers that all attempts made at focusing the minds of Barbadians on objectively analyzing a problem, discussing it intelligently, and collectively working out a solution, have been immediately bombarded by diverse efforts aimed at pulling them down into the murky depths of party politics, or frontal assaults which are aimed at goading the reader into reacting with a strong feeling of antipathy or revulsion towards the writer.

    Here is evidence of this classic approach being used by you in your role as a “serial bomber”:

    de pedantic Dribbler April 6, 2017 at 7:21 AM #
    “@Walter , ……. The DLP is now in charge and it’s about what THEY have and will do.
    What is your commitment? To continue harping ……….. while Bajans get slowly gassed to death with eyes wide open?
    You really need to find a way to rise above the terrible partisan politics that often overshadows your otherwise wise remarks on important matters such as this.”

    Dribbler, go to France.

    • @Walter

      Please train your expertise on what conclusions can be reasonably made based on the lack of financial information about the fund.

  10. @WB
    ” I have endeavoured to bring balance and clarity to the minds of such bloggers.”

    The former yes, the latter no. You may have insight into the various funds operated by the NIS, and the application of their capital balances over the years. It is not so easy (clear?) for others, especially when most of the relevant information is not easily available. There have been reports that on an operating cash level, outflows have been negative for a few years. How do we know?

    When approx 70% of all the various NIS funds are placed in government commercial paper, how do we know how these are being serviced?

    Why would you think that for many years, there has been no Annual report issued? Is Barbados so void of professional accountants, that nobody can be found who can bring such things “up to date”.

    I agree fully this is not a political football, and is of relevance to all Barbadians.

  11. Lol……Walter, Pedant is right though, we are dealing in the now and what has transpired in the last 9 years of really bad governance by the present administration and the wholesale rape of both the treasury and NIS funds enabaled by the PRESENT government ministers to prop up and enrich a few minority people, instead of investing that over 200 million dollars of NIS funds wisely in a safe securities portfolios that have been available overseas for the last 9 years.

    I know the usual backward excuse from the yardfowls ACs, Alvins, Carsons etc is…..”wuh de BLP do it in the 90s until 2007″so we could do it too ….

    ……but look how that monkey see monkey do mentality has destroyed the economy, 19 downgrades by 2017…..a competent, intelligent government who took over from the previous administration, would never had done that…… and then does not want to be held accountable for their stupid actions, trying to blame the previous administration for actions. …that they copied. …ah know ya get my point.

  12. LOL @Walter. Your choice of words and style are absolutely amusing and frankly enthralling. But let me offer you another more lucid and plausible path to your bombing at 6:25PM.

    I really cud give two bad pennies about political affiliations. I really liked your colleague DT until the moment I abhorred him completely based on what he allegedly did. I also liked and appreciated Owen and Errol and Tom too and the list goes on. Because in part they were my leaders (and DT a sorta contemporary) and I wanted them to be the best they could be for the country and me.

    So let’s get beyond the BS political ‘bomber’ folly.

    I thought I was crystal clear. Stop the harping of which administration did what previously to NIS funds.

    Any sensible and reasonable person FULLY accepts this debacle is long in the making and only complete JAs and their brother and sister certifiable donkey yardfowls would perceive that the current admin is solely to blame. That’s nonsense.

    You are a smart fellow and as I said before invariably offer very wise words and you surely discuss matter intelligently to educate us plebs.

    But stop playing catcher for the current assholery of your brethren based on the past actions of others.

    Again I ask: what is YOUR decisive and strong commitment to fix the issues.

    Incidentally, two things 1) not sure France is an ideal place to be banished to in this era of terror threats (lol) and 2) indeed I am but a poor peon… not trying to fool a fella tho…village idiot (or Brer C…) I certainly am not.

    But as they say, you doth ‘protestest’ too much on this partisan thing!

  13. David April 6, 2017 at 12:54 AM #
    The negative correlation we must not ignore- the rise of government debt as a result of increasing holdings in government securities and decreasing holdings by financial institutions which is evidence of a lack of confidence in the market. This cannot be refuted”

    My objective is not aimed at refuting your assertion. It is simply to give a different perspective.

    Barbados is a small country with very limited resources. A serious constraint to economic growth is the limited amount of capital that is readily available for investment and savings. The government of Barbados, deciding that the social and economic dislocation resulting from deep, drastic cuts in expenditure will be too great for the country to bear, opted to pursue a policy aimed at gradually cutting expenditure levels on one hand, and raising revenue via increased taxes on the other.

    As a direct result of this policy, when revenue turned out to be consistently less than expenditure, Government was forced to borrow, in order to close the widening fiscal deficit gap. Even after accessing as much of the limited capital available for investment (this is known technically as “crowding out”) that it could, the government still had to rely heavily on the Central Bank for financial support (this is known technically as “printing money”), along with the NIS.

    A rise in government debt, increased holdings in government securities, and decreasing holdings in financial institutions can sometimes be the result of crowding out, rather than from a lack of confidence.

    I will give you an example to reinforce my point.

    Given the government’s policy, when a point was reached where there was not enough investment capital to borrow, a new source had to be found. That source was savings. In order to tap into that source, some fancy footwork and creative thinking had to be utilized. This was all legal.
    The central bank eased restrictions which were imposed on banks with respect to credited interest rates on savings. The banks, all foreign, said “thank you very much”, lowered their credited interest rates on savings to almost nothing, widened their profit margins, and put more pressure on our foreign reserves through the repatriation of profits. Despite the warnings and downgrades from international credit rating agencies, despite the natural, expected, oft-repeated utterances of impending “doom and gloom”, and marches emanating from the opposition, Barbadian savers still switched their savings from banks and hurriedly bought the comparatively attractive government bonds which were made available.

    Such action on the part of Barbadian savers could have only been the result of confidence. As a result of the confidence shown, there was a rise in government debt, increased holdings in government securities, and decreasing holdings in financial institutions.

  14. Walter,

    The main problem of this island is the lack of efficiency. Ordinary employees always need instructions, they are not able to work on their own. They are like children. Also, service standards are very poor and prices extremly high. Barbados simply lost competitiveness during the last 20 years due to excessive wage hikes from 1995 to 2008 and due to a bloated public sector with Kafkaesque dimensions. Efficiency like Mozambique and costs like Norway. This does not match.

    Two examples: 1) Look around in PriceSmart and Massa Markets: You always see the many staff members chatting and singing instead of working. In other countries, markets have 30% of the staff and the staff is neither singing nor chatting during work. 2) Or look around in the many ministries: Females polishing their fingernails and males looking for the next sexual affair.

  15. 70% of NIS consists of government bonds
    From this fact alone we should know that we are broke.

    This is coded language that REALLY says that Stinkliar and his predecessors have already pass these funds on to their handlers.
    No wonder we now have many ‘fat-donkeyed’ cows, balonies, jerk hams and bizzies….. and quislings.
    Instead of Walter coming out and telling us like it is (as was his wont in times past), he has been resorting to this double-speak and technical shiite language – that is clearly designed to appease the gullible, while not offending his new political pals….

    @ Walter
    Look boss, your natural instinct is to call a spade a spade. This quisling-like approach that you have adopted is not your style. You will end up pissing off BOTH the gullible …AND your intended political pals…

    Come back home skippa….. where the truth shall set you free…and the rest be damned.

  16. de pedantic Dribbler April 7, 2017 at 7:10 PM #
    “LOL @Walter…….
    not sure France is an ideal place to be banished to in this era of terror threats (lol).”

    de pedantic Dribbler,
    You strike me as being extremely ambitious. You have displayed all of the skill and mastery needed at the “serial bomber” level. It is time to promote you. However, it is not prudent to tell you the specialized type of bomber you will be promoted to.
    Your waist size will be needed to make sure a vest fits properly. Once you reach the next level, and you successfully carry out your first assignment, you will be assured of being served for the rest of your death (sorry, I meant life) by 70 virgins. You can select your virgins, however you define them to be, from any country.

    Sounds like France might indeed be the ideal place to send you!


  17. This is a very intriguing comment
    “Barbadian savers still switched their savings from banks and hurriedly bought the comparatively attractive government bonds which were made available.
    Such action on the part of Barbadian savers could have only been the result of confidence.”

    Hurriedly doesn’t mean in the ‘quantity in which they were placing money in savings’? And can really only be measured over time, repeatedly buying bonds as they formerly placed money in savings. And the “success” must be limited, due to the continued reliance on the CB and NIS. (comments which got Worrell fired)

    What isn’t mentioned, is the flight of capital, when persons who didn’t like near zero rates or GoB Bonds, needed solutions?

    If a person is dehydrated, and is offered water, they take it. To assume it is because they have confidence the water is pure, rather than they are thirsty without another option is a dangerous conclusion.

  18. @Tron
    note…I didn’t say Bonds…I said in government commercial paper.


    Treasury Bills $135,230,592 3.04%
    Debentures $2,221,184,140 49.87%
    Fixed Deposits $72,249,340 1.62%
    Equity Invest’s $298,147,350 6.69%
    Bonds $225,673,832 5.07%
    Treasury Notes $773,750,000 17.37%
    Foreign Investments $221,182,030 4.97%
    Loans $199,076,636 4.47%
    Real Estate $307,608,032 6.91%
    Total $ 4,454,101,952 100.0%

  19. https://www.barbadostoday.bb/2017/04/08/nis-scare/

    The government needs to get back the hundreds of millions of pensioner’s money they been giving away to Cow and whomever else approached them with thieving scams.

    This spin the dummy Byer-suckoo is trying to sell are all lies, it’s not pensioner aging that puts the funds at risk, it’s wicked government ministers like herself picking up the money and giving it away to minorities thereby depleting and endangering the volume of the fund causing the projected end of that safety net to pensioners….

    ……if the government would make safe investments overseas as the fund was created to accomodate, it would not now be in danger….but giving the money away to the Cows and Bizzys et al so government can go begging for campaign financing from the same money around election or the intermittent and occasional bribe from the same minorities, destroyed the integrity of the fund….and these clowns, both ministers and minorities should be locked up for stealing money from the pension fund.

    ” NIS scare
    Seniors worry about the stability of their pensions

    Added by Marlon Madden on April 8, 2017.
    Saved under Local News, National Insurance
    The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) could face serious financial problems and challenges to meet pension payments by the year 2067 – or even earlier – if the current trend of an ageing population continues, Minister of Social Security Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo Friday revealed.

    The minister made the disclosure to Barbados TODAY even as she sought to ease the fears of senior citizens who are worried that their pensions are being placed in jeopardy by the NIS’ continued funding of Government programmes.”

  20. Walter has disappointed me. Being a buffalo soldier for years in the heart of America should have prepared and given him a better perspective on how to analyze the systematic, deliberate financial destruction wrought on the majority population, led by minorities and weak, greedy, uncaring government ministers…he should have had the foresight to see it as it really is and not how medioce island ministers wanted him to view it, for their own small minded reasons. …going along to get along is toxic.

  21. When barbadians learn the difference between investing and laying away money in financial institutions to collect pennies barbadians too would become finacially secure like Cow Williams and Maloney.
    Rich people invest poor people remain poor by hoarding

  22. So As’ s……with that nugget of nonsense, how come you are not rich like thieving Cow, but remain demeañed and degraded demented yardfowls.

  23. Barbadian savers still switched their savings from banks and hurriedly bought the comparatively attractive government bonds which were made available.

    I wonder how true the above statement is??

    Did we not hear of a bond offer failing??

  24. When barbadians learn the difference between investing and laying away money in financial institutions….

    Rich people invest poor people remain poor by hoarding

    Did Bimmers not try Civic Society,Sou Sous,Trade Confirmers,CLICO,etc,etc

    …..and did they not get severely bitten including sending some mad.

    ……Did these entities not fail the public due to succesive govts lack of regulation dating back to colonial times.

    How many times you want Bimmers to go mad before some govt puts protection in place instead of suggesting the above garbage.

  25. Savings Bonds are a scam. More important, they have been promoted here in London, against the 1986 Financial Services Act. I told them it was illegal to give people financial advice unless the adviser was regulated. They ignored me.
    Ordinary retail investors should not be encouraged to lend money to the government. It is an example of Mr Sinckler’s desperation.

  26. Hal, Worrell also campaigned for that in Canada.

    The selling of bonds abroad raises several questions:

    1) It there some clause for a haircut in an emergency situation in these papers?
    2) Can local Barbadians or expat Barbadians sue for damages after a default? Problems: a) Nobody can claim reliance for junk bonds. You have to know that they might fail. b) Can expat Barbadians sue abroad to enhance their chances?
    3) Furthermore: Are Sinckler and Worrell personally liable for selling junk bonds in Canada and UK under Canadian resp English law? How could such a judgement be enforced in Barbados, eg through some civil remedy next to an international arrest warrant?

    • Inherent in any investment private or sovereign there is risk to be found. Don’t spout nonsense.



  29. Tron,

    There is action that can b taken, but it must be done collectively. Sell outstanding bonds to bond vigilantes and they will take action, most likely in a New York court. Look at what they did to Argentina and Antigua. That is what I thought Barrack should have done and recommended it, but obviously his advisers advised otherwise. Barbados would have been dead in the water.

  30. Why would Cow scrape together or use any of his ill gotten gains when the idiots of parliament if both political parties are so ready and willing to give him and his ilk all the money in NIS and treasury that belong to the population, allow them to use both entities as their personal ATMs and keep it a secret from the people.

  31. Williams Industries Inc asserts on webpage: “No lending institution has ever had to write off any part of any loan extended to any company controlled by the WII senior management team since the first company started over 42 years ago.”

    And what about the “restructuring” of the loan for Apes Hill Plantation?

  32. Cow and Bizzy lie a lot cause they know there are enough fools in Barbados to believe them.

  33. You didn’t see how quickly Bizzy jump off the board of REDjet when it was about to collapse? He was a major shareholder and still chose to bail off the board and relinquish some control over the future of his investment, any ideas why?

    Reason: Bizzy didn’t want any part of the fall-out for REDjet not paying credits, pre-paid passengers and statutory obligations to NIS etc.

  34. Barbados will be much the better of when these two JOKERS retire or are forced to retire from the business landscape of this island.

  35. If you had strong governments and not weak, corrupt government ministers who have been compromised through bribery and scams against the taxpayers….both Cow and Bizzy could be forced out of the business environment. .they have been parasitic long enough….living off the backs of black people.

  36. What always amuses me today is that in this 2×3 incestous island where everybody is related despite skintone we are still looking for people to be kicked out,retire or die in order to move forward.

    A 100 years ago the slave&indentured descendants owned businesses from rumshops to plantations,were known as skilled artisans,built all sorts of buildings&structures all over the island and were in demand up and down the Caribbean as teachers and civil servants.

    What do we have for a society today but a bunch of spineless,mendicant,sniveling poor rakey lot more interested in feeling sorry for themselves on one hand or on the other hand killing and bling……..from rags to riches back to rags.

  37. @Exclaimer
    the simple answer is…..there is NO money to be made selling BULK rum. And if you cannot market against the giant spirit distributors, you are running upriver. Not focused on, is the sale also included a sizeable slice of National Rums in Jamaica. Another BULK rum giant. The purchaser, aka Maison Ferrand, simply continues the trend of major spirit/wine operations growing by acquisition. The windfall the article speaks of, is breaking even or less.

  38. All the talk about tourism, rum is our only real global product. Yet our business people and politicians cannot grow the brand.
    First, we need a legal definition of Barbados (Bajan) rum: is it the method of distilling? Or the ingredients? Or the breed of sugar cane from which the molasses is made?
    Second we need registered distillers. To be a Barbadian rum distiller one must be registered with the Barbadian authorities.
    We must also ban the importation of molasses to made the product; and there must be an authority approving the product, similar to Champagne.
    The problem is that a political culture in which every man and woman is, or wants to be a lawyer, there is an ignorance of high end manufacturing. Just look at what they did to the Barbados and Central foundries.

  39. David,
    Unless it is legally defined and recognised by the WTO there will be nothing to stop others from producing ‘Bajan’ ‘Barbadian’ rum. Remember we deal with the Chinese, the biggest fraudsters in global trade.
    Our lawyer/politicians should know this.

  40. LCBO

    Mount Gay 1703 Master Select
    LCBO# 225664 | 750 mL bottle
    Mount Gay 1703 Master Select

    Plantation XO 20th Anniversary
    LCBO# 366609 | 750 mL bottle
    Plantation XO 20th Anniversary

  41. @VH
    when was the last year our sugar industry produced enough molasses to supply the rum demand? I am guessing it had to be 10 years ago?

    Further the marketing costs to promote what HA is suggesting is staggering. Especially when Diageo or other large spirits distributor is strangling the retailer to buy “their brands”. Any one off brand is swimming uphill against them.

  42. @ NorthernO
    Any one off brand is swimming uphill against them.
    Yours is exactly the kind of logic that is used by the shiite managers in Barbados to sell off every shiite to white people.
    It reflects a mindset of inferiority and hopelessness and is almost exactly opposite to the kind of thinking that prevailed back in the 60’s and 70’s when Bajans felt that the world was lucky to have them as special guests in its environments.

    It is why we killed Almond, and crawled on our belly to Sandals.
    It is why Republic replaced BNB, why EMERA now owns our energy resources, who MASSA is back in control of BS&T and why “Banks …no thanks”.

    This is another excellent characterisation of brass bowlery….

  43. Northern

    Making rum from 100% bajan molasses,the last time goes back to close to 50 years if memory serves.

    Exporting raw sugar should cease as soon as the present contract expires and we should concentrate on producing molasses for rum,soft drink from syrup,quality sugars in all grades,pure alcohol,vinegar,wine,plywood from the pith,animal feed from the stalks and fertiliser from the mud……have no doubt that other areas can be identified such as cane arrows.

    We spend fx for fertiliser,weedicides and pesticides…..one wonders when our UWI will look at mud,seaweed and animal manure and come up with a cane fertilser and do like wise with other natural products on the island for the ……cides……are they waiting for an outside entity to discover it?

  44. I wrote on a previous blog.

    BARBADOS BRANDED RUM…… produced in Barbados from molasses produced in Barbados from sugar cane grown in Barbados.

    How difficult is it to do this in a country that has produced quality rum for over 100 years ?

  45. Northern,
    The marketing is not prohibitively expensive, it is the will that is the problem. We get 600000 tourists on average a year; each and every one is a future ambassador of Barbados. Remember we are not starting from a standing position. In any case, impose a marketing tax on the product.

  46. Hants April 10, 2017 at 4:44 PM #

    Last I heard it is adulterated Bim molasses and has been for decades.

  47. I disagree on the cost.
    Yes we get tourists, but every tourist doesn’t drink rum?

    I am not privy to the marketing strategies but I never see Foursquare Rums in N.America. Plenty of M-Gay, Cockspur has all but disappeared. The export tax wouldn’t support anything of value, beyond a small targeted campaign.

  48. I was “told” at least one distillery got the bulk of its molasses from S.America, Ecuador in particular.

  49. The value of rum lies in export to the UK&EU and to a lesser extent North America as premiom rum,which all are fetch some fantastic prices…..In the UK it is cheaper for me to drink Gin than our local rum import.

    Note Foursquare has done a deal with Seagrams as far as overseas markets are concerned.

    We need to get back to 100% local molasses before the rum lobby prevents us from using the 100% tag,which has worth.

    Remy is growing its own canes locally and getting its own molasses in order to show provenance to its Mount Gay.

  50. You need lots of rum to survive in Bim. Especially if you attend a DLP conference on FACTS. I guess, there was too much Absinthe in the rum, when they mixed these alternative facts.

    I count down the days to the new Central Bank report on foreign reserves. If they are higher than 350 million, then somebody from Greece wrote the report.

  51. @ NorthernObserver,

    If we continue to sell off our family silver we could as well dig our own graves. We have little to fall back on. Apart from our rum industry can you tell me what Barbados excels in?

    We fail because we are unable to appreciate the knowledge and skills that we have attained and honed since our inception as a colony. We value and appreciate outside experts at the expense of the local knowledge that yesteryear would have been passed on from generation to generation.

    The value of our local produce, products and our vernacular approach to solving problems have become lost. Our limited size as a nation should be a huge plus. There is no reason why we should not be able to gear up our economy towards catering for niche markets. I say leave the big boys to play amongst themselves.

    I always remember the incredible knowledge that my grandparents had. They had an amazing knowledge of the health benefits of plants. They were incredibly observant and highly adaptable. This link with our past has become severed and we have lost our way. I say let’s restore confidence in our ourselves and let’s learn to shape our own destiny.

    The story below highlights what could be achieved if only Barbados had a supply of people with both the vision and the ambition.

    “Scotch whisky industry ‘bigger than UK iron and steel or computers’
    Report finds investment pouring into new distilleries, but Scotch Whisky Association calls on government to reduce tax”


  52. Well said Exclaimer.

    Interesting that we could have found people to run organisations such as BNB, BET, BL&P, BS&T, Mutual, the old sugar industry and infrastructure like the water works etc back in the 1970s and 1980s …. but suddenly – (with the enfranchisement genius Sir Cave Hilary installed at the helm) our education system can only produce clerks …and we have to look for outsiders to run these entities when the Trevor Clarkes and Nicky Sealys retire….

    Wunna could do an inquiry to find out what went wrong, but the answer will be brass bowlery – fuelled by greed, incompetence (created by pushing idiots and second rate citizens into leadership positions) and wickedness.

    What the hell is someone who could not even pass the 11-plus doing making national strategic decisions…? …unless we are focused on committing national suicide…?

    steupsss… Which company would hire such a person to manage it?
    …only a shiite rum shop – or Barbados.

  53. @BT
    it is easy as shiite for you to sit behind a computer keyboard and be critical, with your daily ration of brass-bowlery and skin tone slanted comments.
    Not for one moment, should you infer I agree with the sale, applaud it or think it was a good solution to a problem.
    However, if you follow the wine and spirits business, the assimilation in the past 15 years has been unprecedented.
    To sell anything in the retail business, you need shelf space. When you are trying to sell one product, and you have 7 other guys, who are way bigger and with many products, you know the story…if you want A,B and C (market leaders) you have to buy X, Y and Z. I didn’t say it was impossible, or not worthy of effort, only you are up against it.
    To paraphrase a former superior, these newer operations cut the old distribution channels a new asshole.
    Cockspur tried with Diageo, got phucked, and were back to square one.

    You need to ask your star boy CH, as to why? What did the WIRD sale have to do with them needing to unload that crazy prior investment in National Rums?

    You are right in many of your comments. Only Bajan Rum will never be scotch whiskey, at least not at this late stage, esp with the molasses gone.

    for you obviously have a passion and knowledge for sugar….what the hell is Sagicor doing with all those plantations they bought? Leasing them to the GoB? I understand the GoB rents sugar land from several places.

    • @Exclaimer

      All the experts continue to echo comments posted by many on BU. The political parties will not admit it witha year to go (if we make it) but giving public workers is the only way to make any significant dent in the deficit OR apply it to government paper. Pick your poison!

  54. Northern,
    I did not say all tourists drank rum. I do not drink rum. I said they could be ambassadors. There is a difference.
    As an occasional visitor to the financial sector in Scotland, part of the welcome is a visit to the Whisky Association museum. I suggest that our officials do a tour of Scottish whisky distillers and look at their marketing to get some ideas.
    The bottom line is that our governments have focused on the wrong things for development: tourism, international business, bilateral deals with dodgy governments, a flag of convenience for ships owners that do not even now where Barbados is, etc.
    It is lawyer/politician-led over-ambition.

  55. @ NorthernO
    Not only is it “easy as shiite for Bushie to sit behind a computer keyboard and be critical” it is also sweet as shiite. If Bushie had been given a comforter instead of a whacker, the bushman would likely have enjoyed that too…

    The fact is that a small country like Barbados DOES NOT NEED to follow the traditional marketing logic used by the multi-national, super-albino-centric, greed-mongers of this world….(in which Bushie is fully trained) nor do we need to bow down to their ways…..

    If you are living among them, then it may be hard to see this FACT, but the whole point of Bushie’s various rants is simply that ….. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY THAT SEEMS FOOLISH IN THIS SHITTY WORLD, but it is the way of true success in life….

    Bushie only started drinking wine after visits to vineyards in France and Switzerland -and to personalised, educational tours of MICRO, family owned wineries in those countries…

    If tourists who actually pass through Barbados, plus those of us in the diaspora, …along with some of their friends – were to become supporters of Bajan products, then our businesses could be outstandingly successful.

    BUT… instead of aiming for QUALITY, personalised service and customer satisfaction, we seek to mimic the big time albino-centric greed mongers with marketing gimmicks…

    Only a fool agrees to fight an enemy using his favourite weapon…..

  56. But you and a few BBE’s, could have gone to the credit union if needed, and bought WIRD (it had been for sale for years) and shown others how to do it? And we are talking well less than $15 million.

    How do you think all these ‘craft breweries’ have rocked the beer world in N.America? One by one, little by little, one innovation after another the BIG guys couldn’t figure out how to implement across the board. You went to France, but imagine 20 years ago if you were a winery in Chile or Canada, same story.

    They all do exactly as you described it. The one ingredient you didn’t mention was Passion. You gotta love it, cause it is many hours, and sleepless nights.

  57. Northern,

    In the UK a micro-brewer cost about £25000 (Bds$75000). Since most tourists are from the UK and prefer beer to lager, catering to that market is like taking candy from a toddler.

  58. Northern

    Sagicor is still waiting to sell theirs or buy over the 2000 odd acres of CLICO lands.

    The Planters have been caught up with late application of fertiliser due to late payment of on their sale of canes.

    The industry like the country is drifting rudderless,of note is that the govt through the BADMC is the largest land owner and manager of lands in Bim.

  59. Why does an insurance company want to buy plantations? This looks like the Clico investment strategy all over again. Where is the regulator? Are there reporting requirements on solvency capital calculations and the reporting on those calculations? Does the regulator examine the actuarial models, including the risk factors? What about the signing off on these decisions (the very signing offs that got some people’s knickers in a twist over Clico)?

  60. Hal…you should know no one is going to give you an answer to those questions, your head is too damn hard.

  61. @HA
    I suspect VH knows alot more about this than I do. But memory was that Clico was the initial expressor of interest, which was followed by the Williams brothers, and subsequently Sagicor was the buyer, based on their ability to sway several previous shareholders.

    Without knowledge, I would guess the sale of that much Bajan land would be ‘politically sensitive’.

    Some months ago, I read a piece where Sagicor said they were not making any money, but appreciated it was a major employer, and hence they continued to work on finding a long term solution. Hindsight says we should be thankful it didn’t end up with Clico?

  62. Respectfully, this is the myth of the uninitiated….”catering to that market is like taking candy from a toddler.”

    The plan and strategy maybe obvious, but the execution takes effort. It has to be done. The money has to be committed, the equipment installed, the recipes perfected, the contacts made, the promises kept, sales collected and bills paid, and the back end of people and equipment operated. Running a business takes effort. We can laugh at Kellman as a Minister, but I suspect he is a hard working, successful retail store owner.

  63. Wonder when next Sir Charlie-Cow going to go back to NIS with another scam for them to ‘invest’ into?

  64. Most infra-dig; bah humbug @ Mr Bush Tea April 10, at 9:38 PM re ” What the hell is someone who could not even pass the 11-plus doing making national strategic decisions…? …unless we are focused on committing national suicide…?”

    How does the resident doyen of BBE proselytizing adopt such a snobbish ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards your fellow man because early childhood development was hampered by life issues that hindered academic growth at the pace of one’s peers …

    Just as surely he must have gotten up to speed superbly well since then, it seems…like thousands of other successful folks who ‘could not even pass the 11-plus’!

    But beyond any particular individual the real shock is that we as regular folk do this type of ‘snob appeal’ daily to the extent that we become inured to its ridicule and crassness.

    No wonder so many want to do away with these early stage assessment tests. Even with comparative success as an adult one can never completely throw off that ‘failing’ of youth…when brickbats are being heaved.

    Beat up the politician for their folly certainly, but if you are saying that a less that impressive academic star is running the show then one would have to ask who are the geniuses that elected him…how many of ‘us’ really passed that test, then!!!

    Oh how harsh and crass we can be with simple words!

  65. Oh buzz off do, dribbler.

    Only idiots would seek to justify putting the runt child in charge of the family business…. presumably this makes sense to you…!!!?

    What late developer what?
    People who are truly brilliant start to show this before age 5. If at age 10 it is clear that a fellow is not the sharpest nail in the damn pack, then the chances of him outshining a TRUE talent at age 40 is small….. and would need to be confirmed by SOLID evidence and experience.

    Leadership is EXTREMELY complex….. it is not for the faint of heart, the ‘lacker’ of balls or the cloudy of vision….
    It is for the ‘best of the best’ to be identified, groomed, prepared and installed in such critical roles.

    ….but then again… perhaps you really do not get it…

  66. Rasheed Griffith shared his post to the group: Social Accountability and Education in Barbados.

    9 hrs ·

    These two charts show the dramatic rate at which the Barbados population is aging. Since Barbados pays pensions out of government revenue (a strange decision) then at this rate it is unlikely that Barbados will be able to pay pensions in 30 years. Potentially the government will unlikely to be able to support any of its welfare programs since the bulk of the population will not be in the labor force generating revenue.

    The Barbados economy is not growing at rates that can support such dramatic demographic bulk shifts upwards in age. The country is potentially on its way to a perfect economic storm: aged population, low growth, and low productivity.

    No automatic alt text available.

    No automatic alt text available.

    Rasheed Griffith added 2 new photos.

    9 hrs · Bridgetown, Barbados ·

    These two charts show the dramatic rate at which the Barbados population is aging. Since Barbados pays pensions out of government revenue (a strange decision) then at this rate it is unlikely that Barbados will be able to pay pensions in 30 years. Potentially the government will unlikely to be able to support any of its welfare programs since the bulk of the population will not be in the labor force generating revenue.

    The Barbados economy is not growing at rates that can support such dramatic demographic bulk shifts upwards in age. The country is potentially on its way to a perfect economic storm: aged population, low growth, and low productivity.

    [Data from the census conducted by the Barbados Statistical Service, 2010]

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