Condemn Richard Branson’s Bullying and Extortion of Caribbean Governments

Submitted by Tea White

In July this year, Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic announced that it would end its flights to St Lucia on 8 June 2020. This decision was taken because the government of St Lucia refused to agree to Virgin’s demand that they hand over some EC$20 million in subsidies to Branson’s monopoly company over a 3 year period. That such a demand could be made by Virgin Atlantic, whose owner, billionaire Richard Branson, styles himself as ‘friend of the Caribbean’ is an absolute outrage.

St Lucia is a poor Caribbean country with significant levels of poverty, no functioning modern hospital, schools in desperate need of repair and upgrading, a dire lack of social services for the elderly and many other needs among the population. Only in the mind of a criminal, could it be justified that money desperately needed to meet the needs of the people to St Lucia should instead be handed over to a billionaire and his millionaire shareholders.

Virgin Atlantic already charges passengers around £1000 to fly to the Caribbean from London during peak seasons and generally charges passengers starting their journey in the Caribbean up to 80% more than those starting their trip in London. There is no justification for any Caribbean government to give Virgin Atlantic one single penny.

Virgin Atlantic’s extortion doesn’t apply just to St Lucia. According to Ernest Hilaire from the St Lucia Labour Party, Virgin Atlantic has demanded in total some EC$21 million per year from the following Caribbean countries: Antigua, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Barbados.

All people of conscience should condemn Richard Branson and his Virgin Atlantic’s bullying and extortion of Caribbean governments.

Virgin Atlantic can be contacted on:

Telephone: +44 (0)344 8110 000


68 thoughts on “Condemn Richard Branson’s Bullying and Extortion of Caribbean Governments

  1. Has Tea White ever taken a course in Managerial Economics? Does he understand how business decisions are made by large corporations?

    Virgin Atlantic is not a charity, and it is not Richard Branson’s job to ensure St. Lucia has modern hospitals, well-equipped schools, or adequate retirement pensions for the elderly. St. Lucians are responsible for their own welfare, and if they had more faithfully followed the policy prescriptions of their best economists, they would be in a much better place by now.

    West Indians need to be a lot smarter about tourism. There are ways to secure greater benefits from the industry without undermining the goodwill essential for its growth.

    • The substantive point is because we are poor countries we do not have to take being shafted in the name of capitalism. There is a reason why millions select the Caribbean as a destination of choice.

  2. Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.

  3. Is LIAT still flying to St. Lucia multiple times each day at a lost, with no subsidy from St. Lucia?

    Methinks it is time for St. Lucia’s 15 to man-up.

    If St. Lucia wants the tourists who come by air, then St. Lucia has to be willing to put something in the pot.

  4. @ Ewart Archer

    Mr Branson is a very nice man, a dynamic businessman, who we should emulate. Is this the same Richard Branson, the son of the magistrate, who had a little difference of opinion with the Clarke brothers, black and from Trinidad?
    The Mr Branson who dropped out of his public school to start the Student magazine, who launched Virgin Records from Ladbroke Grove, the home of the Caribbean? Those people who now talk about online sales should talk to Branson. Is this the Mr Branson who launched Virgin Airways, on the back of sound advice from Freddie Laker? What is Mr Branson’s stake in Virgin Airways? And Virgin Brides and the many other Virgin brands? How many have survived?
    Of course, Mr Branson did not formally study managerial economics.

  5. What is the difference between Branson extorting millions of dollars from these poor countries and the govt of barbados giving away billions to the mostly rich in tax giveaways
    For lack of vision the people would suffer
    Here in barbados the poor hard working barbadian must pay taxes for themselves as well as the rich including govt debt
    The millions or even billions that goes to the treasury instead of govt pursuing a policy of collection thought it best that giving it back to the rich was a better alternative
    Now as if that policy was not bad enough they have come once again to use the treasury as a piggy bank to offer illegal occupants free land and housing under the political guise of Humanity
    Therefore cant fault Branson for looking out after his interest when the govt of these Carribbean islands have no interest in the welfare of there people

  6. The substantive point is because we are poor countries we do not have to take being shafted in the name of capitalism. There is a reason why millions select the Caribbean as a destination of choice.(Quote)

    This is basic English, it is called irony. Do they still teach English in Barbadian schools? Where is Frank Collymore when you need him most?

  7. Communism, Socialism, Capitalist, Nationalism & Patriotism. One of these isms Virgin Atlantic is steeped in, and is their “prime directive”, Saint Lucia may not share the same “prime directive” mind you.

    Just don’t confuse your isms and your expectations of Saint Lucia(the government) and Virgin Atlantic(Mr. Branson) and you will be just fine. Actually, all of us will be just fine and will not be as shocked when such is reported in the future.

    Just my take.

  8. Richard Branson started to accumulate his billions by stealing from the taxpayers.

    We previously related the story we discovered while doing post graduate work at a British university.

    To expect such an eater of human flesh to be a genuine friend of anybody is naïve and beckons another round of slavery.

    There is something predatory, to uber degree, about new money people like Branson. His is the very mentality which spawned the first chattel slavery epoch.

    • This comment was sent by a UK national to the blogmaster via Facebook inbox.

      Richard Branson and his companies are nothing but carpet baggers! You only have to look at what his company did to the NHS in the UK. People should boycott virgin Atlantic and the unions should be looking at a raising a campaign against paying private companies payouts when many countries are having austerity measures.
      He should remember that god works in mysterious ways.

  9. Our naivety never ceases to amaze me.
    We seem to think that we can just rub shoulders with the rich and famous and they would give us what we want.
    Investors look at bottom lines as well as sun sea and beaches. Sun sea and beaches are available worldwide. We don’t have the monopoly.
    The “millions” that come here also make demands of us and that’s why we are fighting for windows to the sea.
    We are probably the only country that diversified its economy and ended up with one industry.

  10. The usual BLACK WHINING and blame whitey attitude which is prevalent in the Caribbean. Caribbean countries have to start looking inward if their ever going to address the ills that are infecting the region. It’s TOUGH to be COMPETITIVE in this new modern WORLD ECONOMY, time to ditch the socialism and start paying Peter the Piper.

  11. First Branson’s concerns are not who has a good hospital or street lights, he has a business to run based on profitability.

    Has anyone stopped to think that in the slow period he may be flying half full planes to St Lucia and other destinations? Is Branson different from a man selling shoes let’s say? If I sell shoes and a pair are $400, you can either pay me for them or leave my shoes where they are.

    When In summer Virgin Holidays as they are doing now, offer a 2 week package to Barbados including accommodation at a South coast hotel for £1200. Do you think he is making a killing there?

    It amazes me how little people understand about business when they think these islands have gold on the beach and not sand.

    Ask yourself what is St Luica going to do now? They will need to use LIAT now to shuttle those who want to go there by Virgin from Barbados.

    Oh I just remembered St Lucia refused to be a partner in LIAT too come to think it. They made a decision and they will now have to either pay the penalty or find the money to buy the shoes. They have grossly overplayed their hand in terms of the importance they hold to Virgin, let us hope others will learn from their mistake.

    Plus for those that have short memories remember the $1 million we paid Trump Airways to come here for 1 flight!

  12. Didnt The Rght Hon. Errol Barrow warned that these poor countries would end up being beggars at Captalist door steps
    No one heeded the warning so the end result falls squarely on the shoulders of govt
    The captalist vultures would come with only one interest themselves and govts would always respond because of having no vision

  13. Since when is a foreign airline responsible for domestic health and social policy?

    Grow up kids this is what being an independent adult looks like.

  14. This so accurately describes the ignorant house negro, with their chests all pushed up in the air with their colonial titles and colonial degrees….a total waste of oxygen…particularly the parasites in parliament a downright stain on the earth and on their people.

    like that goat Billie Miller..”oh, bajans were the best slaves in the Caribbean” and she has no damn shame to say something so degrading to the majority black population…without realize that Bajans were BETRAY each other..just .like her ignorant self…and her fellow traitors in parliament.

    “Black Graduates

    Today we are now living in an era of the black graduate. An era in which we would expect their brains to be used to reverse past excesses, to bring emancipation to the black body as a survival mechanism.

    But sadly black graduates with their pompous, consumptive, unwaivering servitude to colonial capitalism have been a curse upon black aspirations.

    They are individualistic and hold their own kind with disdain. Looking down on the less educated, they are always seeking to distance themselves from the black body at every turn so that they can be seen as better.

    They thrive on bragging about being the only blacks on the board or living in all white residential complexes. Failing to realize that such isolation renders them agents of other races’ interests and handicapping them from advancing black interests and ensuring their own survival.

    It’s arguable if such people have been educated to understand the concept of race common wealth or common interest.

    While they seek to isolate themselves for the pleasure of bragging about being the better black. The Indians, Jews, Chinese and whites endeavor to group with as many of their own in decision making bodies to consolidate power and advance their group interest.”

  15. And does this sound familiar…traitor lawyers stealing from their own people for the likes of cow, bizzy maloney etc…the black curse..

    “Black Lawyers

    Among them are our black lawyers who have become specialists at administering colonial Roman Dutch Law and Discovery Law for the benefit of the 6% Roman and Dutch citizens at the expense of the majority [92%] black victims of those same laws.

    These are the same black jurists who claim a legal basis for black land restitution, but daily they tacitly ratify white property rights and black dispossession by walking into our courts to enforce their white clients’ [property] rights to stolen property.”

  16. @ WURA-WAR-on-U August 20, 2019 10:28 AM &August 20, 2019 10:30 AM

    Two very insightful and profound postings. You will make a lot of enemies in this country but keep on going.

    @ William Skinner August 20, 2019 6:47 AM

    “We are probably the only country that diversified its economy and ended up with one industry.”


  17. Now dont get me wrong i will as a citizen cuss people especially the mighty rich who takes advantage of the poor nations
    However on the other hand the mighty rich would not be seen on these islands if they were not invited
    Once here govt wine and dine them sit at the table with them and with eyes wide opened allow these captalist take advantage of country and people
    That is by opening up the treasury like an ATM and agreeing to whatever these vultures asked of them
    It is only when the claims become unbearable that govt asked their lackeys to sound the alarm but by then it is too late.
    The govt of small island nations have proven themselves to be useless and worthless unable to do the bidding for the people who elected them
    Hence we have a govt in barbados who made plenty promises to the poor and has delivered nothing but pain and suffering
    In the meanwhile the distrubition of wealth has once again found its way back into the hands of those who needs (it less) that being the rich
    So how can anyone sit and cuss Branson when govt in the first place made gran promises to him and now Branson holds govt to all their promises ..or else

  18. Richard Branson started to accumulate his billions by stealing from the taxpayers.
    We previously related the story we discovered while doing post graduate work at a British university.(Quote)

    Plse remind the blog what was that story of Branson’s accumulating billions from the taxpayer? How was the discovery made? Was it part of research on Mr Branson, Virgin or on business history generally? Was this revelation made in a thesis? If so, which university and year?

  19. Not my business. But tell the blog, I am sure they want to know. How did Branson accumulate his billons by stealing from taxpayers? This is a serious allegation, was he charged? When and how was this discovery made? Was it formal research for a thesis? If so, which university and year and t he degree? I will close my eye while you tell the blog.

  20. ”””””””””””’Branson was in the shop one day watching the customers browse through the inventory when he had an idea. If Branson could figure out a way to sell the records and avoid paying the high 33 percent tax England then collected on domestic sales, he could raise his profit without the need to increase sales. The idea, like great ideas often do, came to him by chance.
    Branson was driving a shipment of records to Belgium to sell. When he reached the customs office in Dover, he made a discovery that would change his life. Getting his paperwork stamped, Branson decided to turn around and head home. Along the way, he figured that if he could make several trips like this, Virgin would quickly be debt-free. “It was the perfect plan to get out of financial trouble,” Branson later said.
    Branson wasn’t the first businessman in England to stumble across this scheme. Customs had seen the tactic before and it wasn’t long before they were on to him. Investigators from the British customs ministry started pouring over Branson’s export forms. One piece of information caught their attention: Branson had claimed that he exported 30,000 records — in a single Land Rover. The four wheel drive conveyance was roomy, but it wasn’t that spacious.
    Branson had been purchasing his product from EMI records, a record label in England. Alerted by an employee with EMI, customs officials intercepted the shipments, marked each album with invisible ink and returned the marked products to the shipping pipeline. Next, customs officials, posing as mail-order clients, started to order the records. Branson was on the verge of getting busted when the records starting showing up in the mailboxes of customs’ officials.
    Before customs agents could carry out a planned raid, an anonymous source tipped off the young entrepreneur. The tipster told Branson about the invisible ink. Taking a sun lamp to the store, Branson found that all of the records purchased from EMI had been marked with an “E.”
    Looking like characters from a Marx Brothers comedy, Branson and his employees started carting out the marked records and stacking them in a van. Forgetting his father’s instructions to never assume anything, Branson made another big mistake. “We assumed the officers would just visit the South Wharf warehouse,” says Branson. So, thinking the warehouse was the only destination for customs agents, Branson took the records to the Oxford Street shop and placed them in the bins to be purchased.
    Customs swarmed over both locations and Branson visited jail. Convinced that only criminals land in jail, Branson had never realized that he had become one. Branson spent the night in jail before his mother showed up the next morning. Putting up her home as bail, Branson was released. Before he was twenty-one, Branson had fulfilled one half of the principal’s prophecy.””””””””””””’












    ”’Richard Branson started to accumulate his billions by stealing from the taxpayers.”’



  22. David

    We request an exclusive right to call HALTON AUSTIN a cuuuunt!

    For he has never, in ten years, won a single argument with us.

  23. Oh Plse, just this once. Tell the blog how Branson accumulated his billions by stealing from taxpayers? How was this discovered? Was it formal research for a thesis? If so, which university, the degree and year? Tell the blog, they are eager to know. Or der David to cut me out of the loop. How can I win an argument with the great investigator who found out that Branson has accumulated billons by stealing from taxpayers?
    Tell us, we want to know; tell us, we want to know; tell us we want to know.

  24. You are indeed a genuine cunt

    You, imprecisely made a grand charge

    You contended that we said something which was untrue.

    We corrected the record and brought evidence that you are a fecking liar.

    Now, as expected, instead of accepting that you are a liar, you double down. What a piece of work. Maybe the Guardian is wrong as well.

    HALTON AUSTIN is the most loyal of slaves.

    You now muster the intestinal fortitude to repeat your lies.

    Indeed, such a lapdog like HALTON AUSTIN is worthy of death.

  25. We thought you were a cunt too, from birth

    And we were right, from day one.

    If an internet source is not useful, so why are you here.

    It is not the Guardian, which can be sued without the absolute defenses.

    Have they been sued.

    Even now obfuscation remains a useless rock to hide under, even are the colossal clown HALTON AUSTIN.

    Change the substantive issue how much you like – a cunt is a cunt is a cunt. That’s HALTON AUSTIN

  26. Sir Eric Gairy, the disgraced prime minister of Grenada, was fond of saying, “Cream rises to the top”.

    So for all those on this blog who are resentful of “capitalist exploitation” in general, and Richard Branson in particular, here is a brief (and paraphrased) excerpt from the publisher’s summary of a book I read at the beach last week.

    “Jamaican businessman Gordon Stewart began his career in the 1960s selling air conditioners. In 1981, with no hotel experience, he invested in a rundown airport hotel at Montego Bay. Today, that hotel is part of Sandals Resorts, the most successful hotel chain in the Caribbean.”

    So folks, what’s your excuse?

  27. We previously related the story we discovered while doing post graduate work at a British university.(Quote)

    Apologies. I meant II previously discovered this while Googling, that great university. Was it a PhD thesis? Which university again?

  28. Did the same Butch Stewart not demand and receive preferential tax concessions from the Barbados government in order to attract the Sandals Groups here? Did he do the same in St Lucia? Why then should Sir Richard not expect to be treated similarly? Be reminded that local hotels are still awaiting similar concessions as those given to Sandals.

    Should St Lucia be now forced to rely more heavily on LIAT, I trust that their contribution will be prorated to compensate for the period during which they benefited but choose not to put up a red cent for the administration of LIAT.

  29. @ sir fuzzy

    Yes this was a few years back and Trump Air it was called came here on its Inaugural flight to Barbados, was paid for what we hoped would be a long term relationship then went bust shortly after.

    Then again we talking about Trump here.

  30. “WURA-WAR, I do admire you as a female black who appreciates what is going on with your people.”

    just want them to wake up from that deep mindnumbing sleep their useless, greedy, uppity. leaders put them in…all in an attempt to enrich themselves only..

    Robert…nothing new…but when the capitalists are ready for these dummies again…they will probably be be outfitted in modern day shackles and chains…that is how badly their minds have devolved…….neither evolved nor improved…from the colonial experience. …we see it everyday and it is shameful..

  31. @Pachamama August 20, 2019 2:47 PM

    Please give up. Hal the bullshitter from the Ivy was in the UK over 5 decades, you don’t have enough time to change his thinking and views.

  32. Looka look, Former Senior Editor on pon Pachamama postgraduate wuk. The pettiness on this blog eh that passes for being intellectually rigorous and serious. Pacha post de link do…google scholar, researchgate, elsevier, ebsco???🤣

  33. Robert… besides…these lawyers and leaders… know they are not supposed to be stealing from and disenfranchising their own people in that manner, both in Africa and the Caribbean, Barbados, but they are covertous, greedy and wicked…the deadly sins..they just do not want to see their own black people with any wealth, they prefer give it away to their damn enemies…for a cut..

    selling out their own people runs through their bloodlines…like a curse..

  34. But you’re right to come on the blog and describe black people in the most derogatory manner daily, because all the so called bright people in here allow it. I just find a somewhat ironic that someone who derogates black people so repeatedly and calls white people tiefs is married to one.

  35. We are probably the only country that diversified its economy and ended up with one industry.” drew a loud enough chuckle that my colleagues knew I wasn’t focusing on my work.

    and ..”oh, bajans were the best slaves in the Caribbean” made me utter an expression…

    I hope wura can provide documentation on that one as it is hard for me to accept that a Bajan could be so ignorant.

  36. But you’re right to come on the blog and describe black people in the most derogatory manner daily, because all the so called bright people in here allow it. I just find a somewhat ironic that someone who derogates black people so repeatedly and calls white people tiefs is married to one

    @ Enuff

    You are 100% correct. This woman is the biggest joke on the blog,

  37. Medal of Honor to Wura.
    Outnumbered, attacked from several sides, Wura continues to drive her foes crazy.
    In this age where the five minute attention span is the norm, Waru continues to maintain her focus and to keep her enemies toes to the fire.
    A one woman army.
    You go, girl.
    You are in my Hall of Heroes.

  38. SirSimpleSimonPresidentForLife August 19, 2019 10:54 PM “Methinks it is time for St. Lucia’s 15 to man-up.”

    Correction: Methinks it is time for St. Lucia’s 1% to man-up.”

  39. “You are 100% correct. This woman is the biggest joke on the blog,”

    all ah dat…but am not the one that people are MAKING DAILY FACEBOOK VIDEOS ABOUT…and they are being viewed and shared…ACROSS Europe and North America….how bout that..

  40. Besides..Enuff knows everyone gets an equal dose of my tongue…not a fella can say i discriminate…i totally believe in treating everyone equally….no matter what…so ah have no clue what yall complaining about..

  41. Sadly, if many previous Caribbean governments were not so tiefing and insular over the years, the Caribbean would be very well off.

    Trinis tief all the oil money. Antigua, well… it could fly good.

    Buhbayduss…oh dear.

    Grantley Adams had a vision and the insular little brutes did not want it.

    Then, we had to be so proud as to have our own currency, instead of sticking with the English or US currency. Local currency that could be manipulated and also created a little box to live in, where locals could not escape from.

    Professionally, Branson, who does not even own Virgin now, US Delta owns most, is a businessman. Nothing more and nothing less.

    No skip. Get the house in order first and then come to the table, before accusing others.

    Trinidad was the most blatant, good gosh, a country with oil all those years and poor so? But some Trinis must be hundred millionaires for sure.

    Buhbayduss, well, only obvious because the country is not oil rich. Bajans hid it better.

    Hopefully the Guyana people will hold their leaders to account for the incoming windfall.

    If not, there will be a few very wealthy Guyanese living in Miami soon.

    Seriously, Grantley showed the way and the little brats ignored in their pomposity. What do you expect?

  42. I am glad that St Lucia has taken a stand. Time to stop sucking up to these mercenary like corporate vultures.

  43. i once again reiterate that for too long we have always been at the mercy of these carriers some of whom despite benefitting from the subsidy refuse to pay the relevant airport fees some on the obnoxious grounds that they were doing us a favour by bringing passengers to what they regard behind our backs as mosquito infested banana republics..However, these multinational corporations would continue to bully and ride roughshod over us unless the affected countries take a united stand against these mercenary type practices. i am still at a loss to understand why travel from the Caribbean to the UK and USA on average cost more than travel from those countries to Barbados given that the service in all respects is the sam

  44. Charles Skeete
    How about the local mercanaries who have benefiited from concessions and loans and then govt grant them a big favour of tax waivers and write off
    The problem lies with the govts who make grandiose promises to these vultures in return for jobs
    Then when the hour cometh for promises to be delivered govt talks tough in the public arena
    Again lets look at what barbados govt handed to these tax cheats who refused to pay their taxes

  45. And what exactly has sovereignty bestowed on Barbados: lack of access to water and clean water at that; a persistent rise in homicide rates; the destruction of both our natural and built environment; rampant corruption; a loss of identity; the demise of a mixed economy; a culture lacking in ambition; I could continue.

    Sovereignty is an over rated concept. We now how have the freedom and power within us to commit economic, political and social suicide thanks to our sovereignty. Martinique and Guadeloupe have got it right.

    • @TLSN

      How will a people mature and work to get better if we do not endure the travails life has to offer?

    • How is that David of BU? How will a people mature…endure the travails of life to get better. As we live and watch both administrations piss away our inheritance. Obviously you think you can prove Einstein wrong; ” the definition of madness.”

  46. Whoever runs a banana republic should not be surprised that the buyer of the bananas determines the prices.

    The islands in the Caribbean have nothing to offer but tourism. A manufacturing industry is not worthwhile in view of the tropical conditions and a population that avoids work. The offshore financial sector is dead.

    Virgin Atlantic is doing just the right thing. I just wonder why they don’t charge 100 million per island.

  47. @Tron August 22, 2019 5:05 AM “Whoever runs a banana republic should not be surprised that the buyer of the bananas determines the prices.”

    Well that depends on whether there is a shortage or a glut of bananas, doesn’t it?

  48. Somehow i have no difficulty with the concessions as long as the granting of such translate into tangible benefits for the country and people. My question to the economic gurus like Vincent on the blog is
    Have they?

  49. But then who is to blame if the concessions does not materialize favourably to people and country
    In negotiations doesn’t bith sides reach amicable agreements on how the pie should be served
    Isnt it incumbent for govt to make sure that the people and country interest is well served before signing on the bottom line
    It is appalling that after govt signs agrerments two or three years later when govt finds that the betterment of tge country is being shafted they run to public for support
    Should Branson or the business person involved in the agreement feel sorry for the country/ govt or lay claim to what was initially signed by both parties

  50. Being self-critical of your own people is a sign of self-awareness and deep introspection. Too many of us are sleep-walking out of sheer ignorance or get caught up in our own bubble. Waru is on point.

  51. “The islands in the Caribbean have nothing to offer but tourism.”

    Because that is all the shortsighted, tunnel visioned and hand to mouth greedy can see…

    that is the WE CAN’T as opposed to the WE CAN mentality….the lazy mentality.

  52. @ Tron

    The islands in the Caribbean have nothing to offer but tourism. A manufacturing industry is not worthwhile in view of the tropical conditions and a population that avoids work. The offshore financial sector is dead.
    Virgin Atlantic is doing just the right thing. I just wonder why they don’t charge 100 million per island.(Quote)

    This, in a small way, is at the root of the failure of CARICOM. We should be negotiating with Virgin as a bloc; that we do not is because we lack trust in each other.
    By the way CARICOM should be punching the weight of Norway. We do not because of political failure.

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