Call for Caribbean Governments to Tax Cruise Sector MORE AND Tax Air Passengers LESS


Robert MacLellan, Managing Director, MacLellan & Associates

Can tourism dependent Caribbean governments learn something from oil producing countries? When relatively small and poor oil producing governments sought to get a fair price for oil – their main source of national revenue – they banded together to negotiate more effectively with the multi-national oil companies and the larger developed nations, which were the major consumers of their oil. In 1960 five of these countries came together to found OPEC – the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – and were later joined by nine additional member states. As a result of their joint stronger bargaining power, oil prices have risen relatively steadily from US$1.63 per barrel in 1960 to an average of around US$77 during the last ten years.

The weak negotiating position of individual Caribbean governments versus the massive cruise line corporations, relative to port taxes, poses similarities to OPEC’s situation sixty years ago and the same potential “rebalancing” strategy should now be pursued in the Caribbean. If governments across the whole region, including Central America, come together and form OTEC – the Organization of Tourism Economy Countries – they can negotiate as a cartel from a position of greater strength with the cruise lines. Currently, when individual countries try to increase port taxes, they are threatened with being dropped from cruise itineraries and can be picked off one by one by the powerful cruise lines.

From a better bargaining position, state or national governments with single destination cruise itineraries – Alaska, Bermuda and Hawaii – have already negotiated higher cruise port revenues than those in the average Caribbean country. Cruise ships stay two nights in Bermuda and pay at least US$50 per passenger. For mainland United States and Canada cruise itineraries, an average of 33% of the cruise ticket price goes to port taxes, compared to an average 14% for a Caribbean itinerary. By negotiating together, governments in the Greater Caribbean region can achieve similar results to these destinations with higher port taxes.

A recent statement from the Government of Antigua & Barbuda summarized the history and current situation of regional cruise taxes, as follows. In 1993 Caricom countries initially agreed to impose a minimum US$10 port head tax for cruise passengers but this was never implemented because of internal disagreements. A range of today’s head taxes in the Caribbean is as follows: US$18 – The Bahamas and The British Virgin Islands, US$15 – Jamaica, US$13.25 – Puerto Rico, US$7 – Belize, US$6 – St Kitts & Nevis, US$5 – St Lucia, US$4.50 – Grenada, US$1.50 – Dominican Republic.

Imagine the economic benefit, if these cruise tax rates could be increased and standardized across the region at the higher levels listed. One directly relevant and current challenge could be addressed – the current sky-high airport and air ticket taxes in the region could be reduced to help increase the volume of stay-over visitors in the Caribbean.

Stay-over travellers, whether intra-regional or from outside the Caribbean, spend very much more than cruise ship passengers and generate considerably more local employment than today’s cruise ship business model, which is now highly exploitive of Caribbean countries. An increase in stay-over visitors drives the development of more hotels and marinas, as well as many other forms of real estate and tourism infrastructure investment. Reduced air ticket prices keep intra-regional airlines, like LIAT, flying and increase the number of airline seats in to Caribbean destinations from the rest of the world.

The cruise industry business model has changed radically and aggressively in the last fifteen years and should no longer be viewed as an ideal “partner” for the countries of the Caribbean. There is a growing sense in the islands with the highest cruise ship volumes, like St Thomas and Sint Maarten, that today’s port taxes are not adequate compensation for the overcrowding of down town areas, the pollution from the burning of heavy fuel oil and the minimal spend ashore of today’s cruise ship passengers. The mega ships now have multiple shops, casinos, restaurants and bars offering all inclusive packages that totally distract passengers from spending ashore. In the last twenty years ships’ commissions on shore excursions have risen from 10% to 50%, discouraging passengers from going ashore at all and squeezing any possible profit margin for local tour operators. Today, over 80% of a cruise ship passenger’s DISCRETIONARY spend is on board.

Most cruise ships enjoy a double high season – Caribbean for less than six months and the balance of the year in Alaska or the Mediterranean – operating virtually free of corporation taxes and with very low wage bills. The largest ships cost less than US$300,000 per cabin to build, while new hotel rooms in the Caribbean cost double that figure per room to develop and have only one high season. The cruise ship’s highly competitive business model and the further recent growth of cruise tourism in the region might be viewed as a direct disincentive for resort investment and re-investment in the Caribbean.

The total number of cruise ship passengers was over 27 million world-wide in 2018, up nearly 10% from two years earlier. In the next ten years, 106 new ships are expected to enter service and, currently, over 50% of the world’s cruise fleet is based in the Caribbean for the Winter. The hugely profitable cruise industry can afford to absorb higher port taxes in the Caribbean and will do so, once faced with a stronger negotiating entity.

Do not believe any cruise line threats that they can pull out of the region all together. The Caribbean is the only archipelago with natural beauty and sophisticated tourism infrastructure, located directly between the established feeder cruise markets of North America and Europe and the growth feeder market of South America.

Is it not now abundantly clear that, at the very least, there is an absolute logic to rebalance the tax burden between the Caribbean’s stay-over visitor and the cruise ship passenger?

Robert MacLellan
Managing Director
MacLellan & Associates
Note: MacLellan & Associates is the largest hospitality consultancy based in the Caribbean. Robert MacLellan is a veteran of the hotel and resort industry. In his early career, he was an onboard hotel officer with a major cruise line and, later, a Vice President of an explorer cruise line.
For further information: Contact

104 thoughts on “Call for Caribbean Governments to Tax Cruise Sector MORE AND Tax Air Passengers LESS

  1. Good article. But don’t hold your breath on the formation of a cruise tourism cartel. Caricom governments have long ceded unity for ‘divide and rule’ in the cruise sector. I have always hated cruise tourism. They contributed very little income (both in terms of port fees and visitors spending) to the host country.

    In the Bahamas, the model is taken to the extreme where the cruise lines have even bought their own private island.. such that not even a trickle flow back to the Bahamas economy.

  2. In most Caricom countries the local indigenous business sector rarely benefits from the cruise sector. The people who benefit the most are the East Indians who mostly own the duty free shopping complex and the attraction facilities that are mostly owned by foreigners or even the same cruise line. If I was in charge of the government this is one business I would surely discourage.

  3. Excellent article and fully agreed. The cruise sector is a parasite sector, using the natural resources of the islands to gain profits, while having to pay a pittance for the entry to the island. Imagine, a few US$ to enter and see an island, while a day to enter a Disney park is over USD$100.

    Then, the ships have their own duty free shopping and food. They bring nothing to the islands, compared to long stay visitors who pay hotel wages via their room charges, buy products, go to restaurants, nightclubs and beach facilities.

    Raise the tariffs on cruise ships.

  4. Good article but getting these small island nations to agree on anything is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
    Self Interest Rules
    Exhibit A Liat

  5. The article clearly shows that we are investing very heavily in an industry that has already established itself as an economic bully. We must bear in mind that this bully employs thousands of workers from our islands.
    We failed to properly manage the industry and use it for economic enfranchisement allowing other bullies to practice economic blackmail by using threats of unemployment.
    Tourism was determined to be the easiest economic path for sixty years. We have made it the economic bully it has become.
    The bully now asks: Do you want your people employed or not ?

    • @William

      An economic bully you say?

      It is business, the sector will take what we allow them to. The takeaway from the submission is that Caribbean countries have an opportunity to negotiate a fairer slice of the pie, however, it will require something we have historically been uncomfortable.

  6. @ Vincent,

    We need to reflect on the cruise sector and what benefits it brings to Barbados. In a tourism sector that is building more hotels (remember the 12-hotel corridor), cruises would not benefit our hotels, in fact, they are rivals to long-stay tourism; they rarely benefit our restaurants, since most of their passengers get their meals on board; their entertainment is also provided on board; all we may get out of them is the sale of a few memorabilia, since even travelling around the island is provide by local agents.
    So, for the fly and cruise tourists, all we get is that people fly in to Grantley Adams, then transfer by transport provided by the cruise companies. In short, statistical nonsense about the number of cruise tourists visiting Barbados is nonsense. More voodoo economics.

  7. The following article gives an insight into how government views the cruise ship business. There is a clear intent by Barbados to penetrate this sector.

    Urgent need for port capacity, but financing remains elusive

    Bridgetown Port, meanwhile, will struggle to keep up with the increasingly large ships being brought into service by operators. Symmonds noted that the port “on its best day” can handle throughput of around 10,000 passengers a day, but with Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class cruise ships able to accommodate up to 6,200 passengers, he notes that the port’s operations will become impaired and unable to meet demand by 2020-21.

    Increased capacity could come from a number of quarters. Symmonds has noted that there is demand for more berthing spaces on the north side of the island, especially at Holetown and Speightstown, for smaller cruise vessels.

    “In both instances some infrastructural work would be required, but it is not a bad idea for us to look at the other two ports as well,” Symmonds told reporters in August.

    In Bridgetown itself, there have been extensive discussions about the construction of a new $300m cruise terminal dubbed ‘Sugar Point’, which would ultimately be able to accommodate seven extra cruise vessels in an area separate from the main port, which processes both cruise passengers and general cargo.

  8. Agree with the logic of the article re shifting the taxes more to the Cruise industry but look at the disparity among the port tax of the countries mentioned ….(btw, Barbados was not mentioned…. what is our tax??).:

    US$18 – The Bahamas and The British Virgin Islands, US$15 – Jamaica, US$13.25 – Puerto Rico, US$7 – Belize, US$6 – St Kitts & Nevis, US$5 – St Lucia, US$4.50 – Grenada, US$1.50 – Dominican Republic.

    If they ‘came together’ and tried for … say, US$10 standard……… The Bahamas, Jamaica, and BVI won’t agree!!! They would have to try for US$20 for all to sing-on….and if the Cruise folk did agree then you know who end up paying…. the customer!!

    One should also note that a ‘cruise’ passenger is usually treated quite well by the staff, the food, service, decor, amenities, entertainment, etc…. all great …… the only harassment is when one disembarks and get surrounded by “taxi, taxi”, etc… based accommodation don’t usually match-up.

  9. I have been lobbying the point of cruise ship passengers have to pay more to cover the cost of accepting these vessels and to promoting Barbados for at least 20 years. I just wonder WHY there is now a fresh call to address this inequity?

    • The issue of land base vs cruise ship has been turned into an adversarial one. There are pros and cons to both sectors. The problem here as the author opines is the inability of regional governments to implement rules and pricing to benefit all.

      In a related matter Alan Chastanet the incoming Caricom Chairman is calling for a one Caribbean airline authority.

      The blogmaster rest.

  10. TAXING does not help anyone when the People can’t see the money being used, But the Ministers/LAWYERS in Office getting very fat and nasty with greed as if it’s their money. More and more greed, more and more Fraud, So much money they forget about the Laws of a Nations, and all sectors get corrupt to use that same money to bribe and pay off others, Money then used as a weapon, Money Only show up a year before Elections and then to buy Votes,SAME deals going to the same crooks over and over again , to end up in offshore accounts, As with Slavery the Bank of No Returns! The People Shall End This One Way Or The Other! Lets Hope Its Not The Other!

    We Shall Keep WARNING The People, Its Time to WAKE UP and Smell the Coffee that is not for You!
    On the New Slave SHIP called Barbados!

    • The $10 head came up early in the Arthur Administration when Barney was MoT. We did not show the leadership to apply it.

  11. One of the biggest lie about cruise arrival statistics in the region, is that, line ministers gloat about the on board population at the docking port without telling you how many people actually disembark from the vessel.

    • @fortyacres

      Is data available to detail how much goods and services cruise ships buy in the region? In Barbados for example we know they buy water.

  12. Good article but we need to consider 2 points that we have no control over.

    First we are geographically disadvantaged being one of the last stops on the Caribbean cruise itinerary. People looking to buy duty free would probably of done so higher up the chain. By the time they reach here they are basically spent out. That is why many only then go on the prepaid island tours or go relax on Boatyard Beach.

    Now as for spending $300M on a new cruise terminal for a sector that we all know does little in terms of capital generation is madness. I guarantee if an analysis was done it would be found the cruise sector could not make a return for us on that investment.

    Finally to say you will invest $300M so as to he able to accommodate a type of vessel that may or may not ever come to this region is like doubling the size say of Sheraton Mall so you can accommodate the Christmas eve business, total nonesence. The learned minister seems to have forgotten that outside the winter period many weeks our port only sees 2 cruise ships over a 7 day period. With 8 months of dormancy how you plan to pay for a $300M terminal?

    Don’t think you coming to us “taxed to grave” bajans for more neither!

  13. @David. What did he meant by a caribbean airline authority ? Is he refering to a single civil aviation authority ?

  14. @David. I don’t think those statistics exit. A few years back I tried to get similar data on hotels purchase from the local agriculture and SMES sector and came up empty handed. Even countries with tourism satellite account fail to capture those data.

  15. @David. Probaby the only way to get some credible information on the matter is by perusing academic studies done on the subject at UWI or other studies done by the IDB, IMF or World Bank.

  16. @John. I concor. If they desperately want bigger and deeper port let the cruise liner take all the risk and fund it by themselves.

    • @fortyacres and John A

      Oh if we could see the business case government is using to support the Port expansion. Where is our media and industry experts?

  17. St Martin will acccomadate them as they do now on a busy day. Anchor outside and find you way In.

  18. @ Hal Austin at 6:52 AM

    I agree with your analysis 100%. We need to do a cost-benefit analysis of the varieties of tourism products and decide from which sub-sectors we get most benefits. We are,in desperation, grabbing at all and killing the geese that lay the golden eggs. If one is in the upper scale market ones does not encourage day cruises. They crowd out the upscale market and debase the product. Actually that is what Marion Williams meant to convey when she allegedly said Barbados was the Riviera of the Caribbean.

    We do not sell the same tourism product . Any one that goes on a Caribbean cruise will tell you these ships dock in the bushes. Nothing to buy and very little to view. What is the real benefit of the cartel that is being purposed ? Hair-brained ideas… without brains.

  19. @ John A at 8 :18 AM

    Excellent points. In this day and age we ought to be informing our policies on more in depth studies. We are just acting without thinking. This is a knee jerk decision. At this rate we are going to be both asset poor and cash short.
    So Pachamama, dust off that Stochastic Process Model of Sovereign Default that I threw into the dust bin a few blogs back. You are going to need it.

  20. @ David (BU):

    “In both instances some infrastructural work would be required, but it is not a bad idea for us to look at the other two ports as well,” Symmonds told reporters in August.
    In Bridgetown itself, there have been extensive discussions about the construction of a new $300m cruise terminal dubbed ‘Sugar Point’, which would ultimately be able to accommodate seven extra cruise vessels in an area separate from the main port, which processes both cruise passengers and general cargo.”

    Isn’t this another tissue of lies and empty promises of cake ‘topped’ with another load of bullshit?

    What about the Pierhead marina to assist with the revitalization of Bridgetown dying from an overabundance of stench and filth?

    Why would cruise ship visitors be encouraged to walk and shop around Bridgetown given its current environmental and public hygiene conditions totally in dissonance with the standards required of a UNESCO World Heritage site?

    Why would people leave a comfortable ship to expose themselves to the public health and safety risks posed by the rats living in luxury in a town in need of the services of a Pied Piper?

    The present government needs to stop putting the cart before the horse and get back to basics.

    It must start working within its current operational means and financial pay packet by giving a facelift to the Capital ‘town’ and its residential environs like Nelson Street and the New Orleans.

    What impressions are left with those few cruise-ship tourists who might have serendipitously ventured to those ‘hidden dumps’ as part of their visit to a World Heritage site they have been ‘gullibly’ misled to accept was a wholesome sight to behold?

    Is this the same Sugar Point cruise ship terminal which was promoted by the former Minister of Finance in his annual budgetary presentation as a major infrastructural project to be the fulcrum of economic resuscitation?

    Here is what the lying BS Stinkliar promised the country in his August 2013 budgetary presentation:

    “Cruise Pier Project -$306 million with Financing by January 2014.”

    “Pier Head Project (BTII to raise short term financing to start project by January 2014 while pursuing low cost long term financing)”

    Do you feel that the current crew steering the SS Barbados through the prevailing economic doldrums would make any difference?

    What are the current administration’s priorities?

    Which is more ‘beneficial to the Bajan economy? A marina, a cruise ship terminal or a hotel next to a rat infested red-light district called Hyatt managed by a ghost called Sales Director?

    Now where is that ‘rear’ Admiral Mark Mal(m)oney the Bajan investment magnate when he is needed most?

  21. I meant to type. Sovereign Debt Default. I hope Davids Auto correction system is not working overtime again.


    Not a big fan of Gonsalves, but behind him 100% on the Luis Almargo stance. Luis Almagro seem to be nothing more than a spokesman or a tool for the US,

    Is it my imagination? Are the leaders of the ‘smaller islands” stepping into the space vacated by the ‘big four’ (Barbados, Jamaica, T&T and Guyana)? It seems as is policy is originating in the smaller islands. You go guys….

  23. @ Miller at 10:01 AM

    The mill is grinding exceedingly fine today.
    We need to take all the issues ,that you have raised , into the equation. Some projects will fit into our image as an upscale tourism destination. Others will not. We cannot be all things to all classes of tourists.. We are limited by our physical size.

    “Saffrey, who invited the young men to meet with him, told Barbados TODAY on Tuesday that BVHS would not be welcoming the two to do the required community service at the organisation.”

    President of the Barbados Vagrants and Homeless Society (BVHS) Kemar Saffrey appears to be the kind of person I could be a best friend to.

    You don’t attack people and then say “I sorry”. Feet to the ire. There is no immediate redemption.

    Life can be tough.

  25. A Happy and beautiful morning to all of Barbados.

    I extend my sympathy to the family of this young man.

    WVERY well would be covered in a less than a day if you follow this bit of advice…

    Write the word “corruption” on each well and then watch them rush to cover it up.


    ““If you appoint 26 people to a Cabinet out of 30 and then you make another one the speaker, another one the deputy speaker and another one the chairman of committees… and you look at Joseph Atherley, who has served as a parliamentary secretary, who has served in the Cabinet of Barbados, in the office of the Prime Minister, who has represented this country at home and abroad…something is wrong.”

    “I say it’s a clear message that ‘I don’t want you’…for whatever reason, ‘I don’t want you’ and it could not have been based on past performance. So I had to ask myself where could I best serve the people of St Michael West and the people of Barbados,

    Much has been said of Mr Atherley, but the above two paragraphs are all you need to know. I would have acted in almost the same manner, but not being a man of God I would be still cussing ‘she’ and the other 28.

  27. “People looking to buy duty free would probably of done so higher up the chain. By the time they reach here they are basically spent out. That is why many only then go on the prepaid island tours or go relax on Boatyard Beach.”

    John A

    Unfortunately for islands such as Barbados, many of the cruise liners offer all-inclusive vacations and have on-board duty-free shops that sell items similar to what many islands’ stores sell………… at much cheaper prices.

    So, basically passengers can spend all day touring an island, laying on a public beach or swimming…………. FREE

    ………and at night, they can eat a four-star cuisine in one of the several restaurants, take in a show or dance with their spouses or partners in the on-board pubs or discos.

    Don’t forget, “tourist boats” visit Barbados mostly on Sundays, when stores are closed (which is the usual complaint by passengers and tourism officials). Passengers usually want souvenirs or memorabilia and to see as much of the destination they could ……… within the limited time they have. And with the stores and tourist attractions closed…. they would obviously take advantage of the prepaid transfers from the port to the city, island tours, etc….. by maxi taxis and tour buses.

    Those taxi operators that manage to get the “odd passenger,” have limited time and choices. Places such as the Boatyard are popular (and ideal for the “taxi man),” because they pay a commission. Then there’s Rhianna’s childhood home, which is “OPEN DAILY” for FREE viewing by locals and tourists alike.

    And as it relates to Rhianna’s childhood home, although it was an excellent idea to refurbish the home into a tourist attraction, let’s be realistic. How many people would come to Barbados specifically to visit Westbury Road and take photographs of that house? It’s just a “by the way” thing……. like, “oh, by the way, now we’re in Barbados, let see Rhianna’s home.” With all the money spent on that project, what has been the ROI thus far?

    Essentially, there aren’t any fundamental differences between an all-inclusive cruise vacation and an all-inclusive resort. The only difference is that on a cruise, passengers get to visit the different destinations listed on the itinerary.

  28. Just to add some recent relevant cruise line data:

    The fastest growing cruise region when it comes to pure capacity growth in passengers year-over-year is the Caribbean for 2019, which will post another record year, according to the 2019 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.
    While big new ships are driving demand and capacity growth in the Caribbean, the region is also accelerating on a capacity growth basis much faster than all other major cruise markets this year.
    Capacity will be up just under 5 percent, or around 500,000 passengers for the Caribbean, which follows a strong 2018 when the region posted a near 7 percent uptick in capacity growth.
    Carnival Cruise Line remains the biggest player in the Caribbean market, with an estimated 34 percent of capacity, followed by Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Bahamas Paradise, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.

    • Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Cruises do a poor job of limiting the pollution from their ships, according to the environmental-advocacy group Friends of the Earth.
    • The group graded 16 cruise lines based on how they treat their sewage, the steps they’ve taken to limit air pollution at ports, whether they follow water-pollution rules in Alaska, and the quality of information they provided about their environmental practices to Friends of the Earth.
    • Disney Cruise Line was the only business to earn a grade higher than a C-, and no Carnival or Royal Caribbean examined by Friends of the Earth earned a grade higher than a D+.
    Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean Cruises are the world’s biggest cruise companies, but they’re also among the worst at limiting the pollution from their ships, according to the environmental-advocacy group Friends of the Earth.

    • Thanks Robert.

      It is obvious cruise ship business is on the increase and to support the business Caribbean governments will have to continue to engage in significant spend direct and indirect. The time has come to button the cost associated with the industry to ensure the P&L is black.

  29. Thanks Robert.
    It is obvious cruise ship business is on the increase and to support the business Caribbean governments will have to continue to engage in significant spend direct and indirect. The time has come to button the cost associated with the industry to ensure the P&L is black.(Quote)

    Do they still teach English grammar in Barbadian schools?

  30. The writer of the article suggests that the Caribbean should do like OPEC with its tourism industry and form a cartel. A commendable idea that has a built in flaw. Oil is the driving force behind the growth of the modern world. Until there is a replacement for oil, OPEC and other oil producing countries have room to exploit their advantage. Tourism is not a necessity. The world before the second world war functioned without there being excessive tourism and it can certainly do so again. There are a heap of countries with beaches and sun just like the Caribbean:so sun and beaches cannot be used as a chip to bargain with to attract tourist. There is virtual reality, one can create distant lands. and their auras with out moving a foot. When the spread of robotic is the norm, many people will be left idle, so where will tourism be then? One can say that this is a nihilistic view. One must always think forty to one hundred years ahead of one’s present situation and make the appropriate adjustments. Barbados is still relying on a fickle industry for its economic mainstay.

    • @Dr. Lucas

      Many will disagree by saying Caribbean is positioned as an exotic destination and so-called zone of peace. We should not mark ourselves so hard. There are alternative destination however the Caribbean differentiates itself.

  31. @ David Blogmaster

    The real BU predator is on the loose and sniffing too. So, be very, very careful, especially with this particular predator that is unblemished and perfect.

    • The blogmaster can take care of himself. Continue to make your points about the interesting submission posted by Robert.

  32. @ David.

    An increase in cruise shop traffic does not equate to a similar increase in business from the increased head count.

    What we have to realise is that larger ships have more attractions on them than say older ships in the 70s and 80s. The need to get off the ship to shop is therefore not as big a deal. What we want from the learned minister who wants us to open our cheque books to the tune of $300M is therefore this.

    Please give us the percentage of passengers who actually disembark the boat for the last 3 decades so we can see if the percentage leaving theses larger boats is in fact falling and if so by how much. The fact that we can pontificate that “today 8000 people arrived on ships” is not what I want to know. Tell me how many of the 8000 disembarked. I wonder if we even capturing that data?

    So in closing let me say bigger boats with more on board attractions may actually mean less people getting off than even was the case of smaller boats arriving in the 90s where practically everyone disembarked.

    So please no more hairy fairy statements about how many a ship can bring, unless you can also supply actual disembarkment numbers.

    We say arrivals up on cruise ships but spend not up accordingly you all understand why now right ?

  33. The entire leisure industry has been showing steady growth for the last two decades. Occasionally there have been rather short-lived declines.
    We refused to diversify our product and both governments put square pegs in round holes solely for political reasons.
    David is absolutely wrong when he speaks of the Caribbean being a unique exotic destination that “differentiates” itself. He should first give examples of the differentiation.
    Should he spend a little time on the travel, food and sports channels, he might get a clearer understanding of marketing leisure products.
    Once again we have entered that delusional comfort zone.

  34. @ david

    I can tell you that an agent told me last year that on the larger boats more than 25% of the winter travellers are not disembarking the boat here. Reason is they have seen 5 or so islands already and the winter traveller tends to be a bit older than the summer “bargain hunters “.

  35. So what all this long winded back and forth having anything to do as to if small island govts would unite under one financial /economic cause to protect the Tourism industry and in general their financial interest
    Sir your article is well thought out and give much food for thought
    However history has already shown that these small island govts have no interest in being unified
    Reason why they are like paupers beggging on the captalist door step

    • The well was not left exposed, it was not maintained over the years and the cap collapsed under the weight of the youngster.

  36. @ David,

    Let us hope the government will now check every well on their properties and make sure they are ” safe “.

  37. @ David July 5, 2019 12:00 PM

    “Caribbean is positioned as an exotic destination and so-called zone of peace. We should not mark ourselves so hard. There are alternative destination however the Caribbean differentiates itself.”

    I am bit nonplus about the zone of peace. The pre-Columbian Mayan and Inca civilization were not exactly peaceful areas.The whole area was the subject of genocides when Spain, the Dutch, British and French set up colonial empires. One only has to think about Cortez and Francisco Pizarro and the zone of peace goes out the door. Subsequent to the Conquistadors, there have been the dictatorships of the Caribbean, Latin America and Central America: More recently there was the Grenada affair as well as the revolution in Trinidad and now there is Venezuela , The area,historically has never been a peaceful area. Piracy why less publicized also happened in the Pacific, indeed, it has not stopped, one only has to think of Sulawesi( formerly called the Celebes) one of the Indonesian chain of islands is a well known pirate haven.
    The gist of the original comment was that, there was a need for an alternative to the slavish adherence to tourism only.

  38. Cruise ships are like all inclusive hotels.

    Barbados needs to have more enticing quality attractions if they want increased benefits from this type of Tourism.

  39. @ dr July 5, 2019 1:46 PM
    “I am bit nonplus about the zone of peace. The pre-Columbian Mayan and Inca civilization were not exactly peaceful areas.The whole area was the subject of genocides when Spain, the Dutch, British and French set up colonial empires. One only has to think about Cortez and Francisco Pizarro and the zone of peace goes out the door. Subsequent to the Conquistadors, there have been the dictatorships of the Caribbean, Latin America and Central America: More recently there was the Grenada affair as well as the revolution in Trinidad and now there is Venezuela , The area,historically has never been a peaceful area.”

    We can see that you are a person well-read when it comes to your “New World” history.

    The Caribbean region, especially within the last 500 years, has always been a zone of war among ‘international forces’ fighting over the plundering of the region’s resources.

    What we should be more concerned about is the massive threat imminently posed to the region’s economic bread and butter.

    The devil in the form of the Sargassum seaweed could turnout to be the archenemy of the go(o)d Neptune and the equivalent of the Apophis to the sub-region’s cruise ship business; especially Barbados with its heavily dependent beach-based tourism industry.

    It seems the region is about to find itself between a tourism highly-dependent rock and a geo-politically hard place.

    Would Venezuela be the land of the first modern outbreak of the curse of Montezuma’s revenge to engulf the tourism dream of economic salvation the same way El Salvador was to the lost Columbus and his mutinous crew of musty-smelling-starved–thirsty-disease-ridden Europeans?

    • @Miller

      A country has to be able to deal with many problems at the same time. Do we allow the cruise ship sector to plunder our region? Theee is a reason why the Caribbean is a popular area for the sector.

  40. @ Miller July 5, 2019 5:16 PM

    Should be “San Salvador” the land of the saint who looked after lost sailors in the region with the biggest modern-day tourist industry in the many small islands of hedonistic pleasure.

  41. Agrophotovoltaic Farming? Maybe we should try this to offset our substantial dependence on cruise & land based tourist/tourism.

    Just thinking out aloud. Maybe it working on a few parcels of land on this island. If it is workable can be a step towards diversifying the economy.

  42. @ David July 5, 2019 5:28 PM

    And who would be that ‘party’ most likely to negotiate beneficially for the region, one of the most diverse areas on Pachamama?

    The current crop of politicians who would sell the own dead mothers’ underwear for a piece of dirty silver?

    Isn’t is laughable how easy it is for a home-grown pirate like the ‘Butchy’ Stewart to run rings around a bunch of political monkeys easily tricked by a bag of peanuts in exchange for the despoiling of their environmentally sensitive islands?

  43. @John. Exactly my point .They do have the statistics on disembarkment. However, it sounds better to the ear when the total ship count on arrival is used. I heard you get more value for money with the much smaller boutique cruises, the only draw back is you only get one or two per week.

    @David. Not many people will agree with you on the region being tagged with the ‘zone of peace ‘ appellation. The caribbean and latin america region accounts for over 50% of all the murders committed worldwide. In some literature, the region is viewed as a CONFLICT ZONE because of the unusually high murder rate. However, very few tourists become victim. Without the all-inclusive model countries like Jamaica wouldn’t have been that successful.

    • @fortyacres

      The label was earned more for not being a place where terrorism and traditional war games play out.

  44. All taxes must be lowered. We should also abolish property tax altogether. It discriminates the top performers in their villas and privileges the lazybones in their huts.

    Employee rights must also be watered down. For example, we need longer working hours of at least 50 hours a week in public service from Monday to Saturday.

    We must finally dump the rotten welfare state into the sea, so that the population of the island can finally breathe freely again.

  45. Woh loss.! We should abandon governments altogether. Then there would be no need for taxes. No welfare state. Just chaos.

  46. @ Vincent Codrington July 6, 2019 10:02 AM

    Tron might be going just a bit overboard but his call for less government intrusion in the people’s business is welcomed.

    Why educate the people to tertiary level if they still need a nanny-state to look after their own social and economic lives?

    Why does Barbados require 26 ‘career’ politicians to steer the wheel of State in an economic environment where the country’s banker of last resort is demanding that government withdraw itself from playing a direct participatory role in the commercial life of the country?

    Soon the Bajan SOE’s would be fossilized relics of a bygone commercial landscape.

    ICT would be their serum of decay and the IMF their coroner.

  47. @ Miller

    The sooner they fossilize the SOEs the better! They have all proven to be a waste of time and money as the boards are party loyals anyhow!

    They all want replacing with PPS entities with government owning no more than 49% of the company. Every SOE is no more than a board of puppets with government pulling the puppet strings. Don’t forget the board members are ” appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the minister”

    In bajan terms “do what I want or carry you ass”

  48. John A at 10 :56 AM

    Why have a PPS? Do you not think PLCs should do a better job? The SOEs came into being because there were no Public Liability Coys and Private Ownerships providing these goods and services at reasonable costs.

  49. If you wondering how I plan to get around government interference in the board of the company even if they only own 49%, I got that sort out too!

    The board will have 7 members appointed 3 by each shareholder, so government will appoint 3 directors and the private shareholder 3 directors. The chairman will however be appointed by the 6 sitting directors and not any minister. So the days of a minister putting a chairman there to do his bidding done too in my new entity BWA 2019 INC.

    See I even offer them a name free of charge for the first target followed by BTB 2019 INC.

    for wunna that might be wondering what BTB stand for it is Barbados Transport Board 😁

    Cuss me all you want I can’t hear you

  50. John A

    In an interesting main editorial in one of the dailies two days ago, it was pointed out that after their appointments by the Minister ,directors’ fiduciary responsibility is to the corporation and its stakeholders. Your belief in “party loyalty ” does not and should not carry any weight. Remember these persons are almost all professionals with a big stake in their personal and professional integrity.

  51. @Vincent

    Normally I would agree with you on the PLCs for sure, my only concern is in the grips of the IMF agreement I don’t know how they would view Bim signing on for more liability under the PLC structure.

    Then again it is 6 of one and half dozen of the other and it would cut public liability in half but don’t know if fine print in the IMF loan agreement would allow them to do it. That would be for the “big up” lawyers to answer. You know when you put you head in the lion mounth you have to ask permission to sneeze!

  52. @ John A at 11 :16 AM

    We know that you are not listening ,therefore we will not throw any bowls made of precious metal at you ; nor drape you in cloths for special purposes.

  53. @ Vincent

    Show me any human being who is an entrenched party loyal that if appointed to a board would not at least ” favour” the proposal of a minister.

    Cud dear this is Bim we living in. You want me bring up the rental that was paid for a few plastic water tanks now? Don’t make me wash the BWA laundry in public this blessed Saturday. Assuming I got water by me this morning !

  54. @ John A at 11 :25 AM

    Board of Directors do not consider proposals from ministers. Nor should ministers lay proposals before the BOD. BOD consider matters put before them by Management. The chairman and directors appointed by the minister are quite free to factor in GOB policy positions . Normally they do not have to do this since Management would have included this in the proposal/ paper and the merit or demerits thereof. A good chairman and a competent CEO agree on the Agenda for BoD meetings.

  55. @ David Bu at 11 :55 AM

    I live and worked in reality. What I have described above is reality. Of course your experience may be different. It will therefore inform your reality. So we will not argue on this.

  56. @ David.

    Vincent only putting forward what should happen and he is correct in what SHOULD happen.

    Of course if in real life these things DID happen they would not of been water tanks paying monthly rents similar to some small houses, nor a certain fellow stake out in Florida with an ankle bracelet on. Then again he had always like alot of

    Had a certain insurance company adhered to Vincent’s points we would not of had the $36000 USD dental bill neither. So yes what is “supposed” to happen and what “happens” are 2 totally different animals.

    Then again to expect different in an island that has never prosecuted a single person for money laundering wunna surprise?

    It’s like you ask a guy ” you guilty of thiefing ” and he replies “I never get charge for it”. All he really mean is I ain t get catch YET.

    • @John A

      This blogsmaster is familiar with the obligations directors serving on Boards have under the Companies Act.

  57. @ David Bu

    Your comment at 11 :55 AM and previous but separate comments by DPD and Pachamama have clearly revealed to me where the real sources of Barbados problems over the past ten years are.

  58. @ John A

    The pot bubbling nicely. The views definitely making a difference. Thesis , antithesis, synthesis ?

  59. @David

    It’s like when we come out as one of the least corrupt places. If this analysis depends on cases of reported and charges laid for corruption, are we low on the scale because we are not corrupt, or because we have never charged anyone for any real corruption?

    That is why I pay little attention to some of these reports as they depend on domestic data being available for scrutiny. So lack of public data therefore gives those doing the survey’s a false reading.

    Similar story with the nonesence that goes on in the SOEs as outlined by the by the Auditor General. Clear breaches in accepted conduct, do we act on them? No. Does it mean we do not have a problem? Of course not it just means we too dam lazy to fix it!

  60. @ David BU at 12 :13 PM

    Are you of the opinion that Directors obligations under the Company Act are honoured in the breach, in Barbados,for the most part?

  61. @ David

    @ Vincent

    Our problem is not laws or structure we got nuff of them. It is a lack of accountability and consequence that got us where we are.

    Unless that change 2 more filing cabinets full of new laws don’t mean one dam thing

    • Want to see you two gentlemen postings your views under the recent blog please. We need the wisdom of the old heads.

    • @John A

      That was phrased to be a compliment. Impatient reading the simplistic comments steeped in political gibberish or one dimensional.

  62. @ John A at 12 :32 PM

    I came to the same conclusion a long time ago. Some lawyers and law makers know law and they throw it at every conceivable problem in the hope that they will be solved. The human factor is often ignored.
    Implementation can only be done by competent and willing officers.
    @ David BU
    From my experience I know quite a few Boards and directors of Boards that take their responsibilities seriously. And some ministers of Government as well. One bad apple does not spoil the whole barrel,contrary to what you have been told or experienced.

  63. @ John A at 12 :41 PM

    I have no problem being called an old man. I have for my whole life been comfortable in my own skin.( I hope that is not selective memory ) From time to time I do reflect on my life and have few regrets . I have accumulated some knowledge along the way which I share from time to time.

    @ David BU
    No problem.

  64. @ Vincent.

    @ David

    I lie you happy to of lived to get older. I only wish I knew what I know now, 30 years ago I could of avoided some mistakes. But we can only look forward and try not to get frustrated by some of the young ones ” that ain’t see a star pitch yet.”

    David I only ragging Vincent and thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated. He ain’t that old though cause he writing calypso for this cropover, so he say at least 😁

  65. @ David Bu
    @ John A

    Thanks for your generosities. Thanks for providing the opportunity and the fora for keeping the grey cells grey. I do not give up on the young .I believe they are doing the best they can under tremendous pressures that we and the world at large is putting on them. They will survive .

  66. I wonder why this algorithm determined that “large “is a noun? the spell check is worse.

  67. At first glance one thinks the article is well written.
    Yet this is a logistics game. Ports closer to the jump off points in S.Florida etc have cruise lines over a barrel. They know 6 ports in 7 days sell well. Barbados and islands at the southern end are at a location disadvantage, until cruises depart from places nearby.

  68. Northern Observer rightly states that more northern islands have some advantage, but that is the very essence of the hair-splitting thinking that the cruise lines exploit. Hence the call for all islands to negotiate together. Also remember that for 2019/2020 nine ships offer cruises based from Barbados (mainly for the European market) and ten ships offer cruises based from Puerto Rico. Six ports in seven days would represent an unusually high ratio of port calls to days at sea but is still feasible from Barbados and Puerto Rico.

  69. Airlift is also a critical factor for joining cruise ships and Barbados has an almost unparalleled choice and frequency of flights from the UK, Canada, Germany (5 flights a week from October) and the USA.

  70. “Vincent Codrington
    July 6, 2019 10:02 AM
    Woh loss.! We should abandon governments altogether. Then there would be no need for taxes. No welfare state. Just chaos.”

    And doesn’t chaos exist presently in countries controlled by Governing agencies in the form of political parties all over the world? Perhaps we should eradicate political parties and and look at a new system of governance by the people for the people and of the people.Kind of Utopianish considering thewateringdown of values but an indication of how we have come to acknowledge and embrace standards and values which were once unacceptable.

Leave a comment, join the discussion.