Do Not Squander the Stimulus Spending

The Government of Barbados wisely invested in upgrading the Harrison Point facility, in response to the COVID-19 threat. The derelict buildings have become a functional medical facility. Well done.
Since we are in a hurricane and earthquake prone region, it is important that opportunities to upgrade buildings, are not limited to functional uses only. They should also be upgraded to survive expected hurricanes and earthquakes.
Since the publication of our National Building Code in 1993, buildings in Barbados were supposed to be built to survive Category 2 hurricanes. However, with three Category 5 hurricanes devastating some of our Caribbean neighbours, over the past three years, new construction should be built to Category 5.
The normal response to this recommendation was to assert that it is prohibitively expensive. However, it is unlikely that those who made that assertion, actually looked at both costs. The truth is, it is not prohibitively expensive.
Our Caribbean neighbours’ tragic experiences with hurricane damage is instructive. It is extremely costly to rebuild after experiencing catastrophic damage. Foreign investors in hotels, businesses, and other properties, may choose to keep insurance payments, and not rebuild, or delay rebuilding in Barbados.
For the past 30 years, the ‘prohibitively expensive’ assumption was accepted as fact. With the Government planning to oversee the spending of approximately $2B of stimulus money, we can no longer afford to do so. It is time to compare both costs – before any of the stimulus money is spent.
Most developers may be surprised at the comparatively minor additional cost, and regret not building Category 5 buildings before. However, others may decide to maximise profits, by constructing the worst building that our Building Code will allow.
It is in Barbados’ best interests for all buildings to remain functional after a major hurricane and earthquake. This will allow business activity to resume with minimal disruption. The Government can easily facilitate this new building standard, by making it more profitable for developers to do so.
Solutions Barbados recommends that VAT on construction materials be waived, for all developments that are built to withstand major earthquakes, and Category 5 hurricanes.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

48 thoughts on “Do Not Squander the Stimulus Spending

  1. There is an even bigger problem developing right along with having to worry about the stimulus money being STOLEN by the usual thieves…ya have to also keep watching the sell out movement in the parliament…..the evil minded negro for leaders selling their own people to be used as guinea pigs to test dangerous and deadly vaccines..

    it is more appropriate for the useless leaders to use themselves, their families and hangersons and their yardfowls as guinea pigs first…that would be setting the best of examples..

    “Rebecca Theodore Belnando Weekes. 30 million dollars. 10% already paid. Do your research.”

    • @Dr. Lucas

      Where will the resources come from in a post covid era? The financial planners have had to reallocate expenditures to fight public heal issues re: COVID.

  2. @ David BU

    What is the focus of this moot?
    Your caption on stimulus squandering?
    Grenville’s focus on hurricane proof buildings ?
    Or WARU’s very timely focus on the Caribbean population being used as guinea pigs in the development of a COVID- 19 vaccine?

    I am asking for your friend.

  3. @SB

    “Since the publication of our National Building Code in 1993”

    Your correct in 1993 a BUILDING CODE was “published”, however since the building code has not been passed into LAW, thus it’s not enforceable. Builders do not have to build to this published code and no government agency or ministry can enforce.

    Another example of BARBADOS PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT when inreallity they continue down their TURD WORD STATUS route.

  4. @ robert lucas May 11, 2020 7:32 AM
    “When will the Public Library buildings be restored?”

    There is NO kickback fat for the politician’s cut in restorations or repairs to buildings even if of great architectural or cultural significance.

  5. Well…at least it’s finally being highlighted at a regional level…so let’s see if the governments continue to play their destructive game of …it’s cheaper to import unhealthy overpriced junk to feed the people and make them sick with NCDs …rather than to initiate and IMPLEMENT that EVERY HOUSEHOLD PLANT THEIR OWN GARDEN to feed themselves.

    we already know the other islands ALWAYS kept their agriculture alive and well, they never thought themselves too important to grow their own food, they continued their culture of SELF SUFFICIENCY post emancipation, they have always been ahead without all THE PRETENSE….

    between trying to revive the dead go nownere tourism, trying to keep the frauds for construction business people in business at the taxpayer’s expense and trying to dance around the agriculture because we done know they really do not want to do it since doing so will mean the people will be LESS RELIANT on thieves, they more than have their work cut out for them…watch them dance….thank you Covid-19…a silver lining in every cloud.

  6. What has become of the high rise Exmouth Housing project near to the Brandon beach?

    Didn’t the MoF under the previous administration and MP for the area confirm that the site was shovel-ready and financing for the project had been arranged just awaiting the political green light?

    Why can’t this project be taken off the shelf and sold to Maloney for implementation as part of the stimulus package?

  7. ….the 40 million being raided from the Catastrophe Fund and whatever else being skimmed to continue GROWING concrete buildings, hotels and parks for the homeless to sleep in, would be better used to SHORE UP FOOD PRODUCTION…because when US and other countries decide that feeding their own people… COMES FIRST….dog will eat the dinner of the import loving fools..

    it’s ok to put aside 750 acres for food production but where is the money to actually grow the food and just whom do they think is going to slave for them without having assurances that the land will be given or sold to them at a cheap rate… pass on to their children and grandchildren generationally…no one is going to slave in the 21st century for leaders who do not look out for the welfare of the majority population…so dog will eat alyuh dinner anyway..

    .. i have an idea, put the fowls to plant food they don’t have enuff to do anyway besides haunting the blog with their stupidity day in and day out and while ya it it get some of lazy ass minoritites to work the land too instead of standing around pretending to be overseers and slave masters..

    “Most of the foreign exchange that we are gaining goes into importing food.” She suggested this model cannot be maintained.

    Paul called on the region to make a greater investment in its own food production and promote an increase in food trade between Caribbean countries.

    “Even when things settle down with covid19, is the Caribbean going to go back to our old ways? We are too reliant on others as a society for something too fundamental as the food we eat.”

    Even the region’s strategy and heavy reliance on tourism must change, she said as she called on the tourism sectors in each Caribbean country to greater support foods produced locally.”

    but don’t mind me, my bread is buttered on both sides and chicken well curried…i will laugh my ass off when another cockup presents itself……free of cost.

  8. @Vincent a big 😂ROF re:

    “What is the focus of this moot?… Your caption on stimulus squandering?
    Grenville’s focus on hurricane proof buildings ?…”

    Mr. Phillips has been lambasted here since day 1 for his improbable messaging eeferences … In sum, he does this repeatedly …. take the man on what is (literally) written before us and just accept the analogous references in as benign a way as is possible.

    (So in this case the govt refurbished a building thus they should be conscious of ensuring all refurbishments done for covid purposes or during this covid stimulus period should also be cat5 ready)

    As one of his antagonist would allude … That is Grenville’s “irrefutable style logic that cannot be disputed”! 🙃

  9. REFERENCES… that “efferences” likes much too suspect as intentional… It was a genuine typo!

  10. @ David May 11, 2020 9:25 AM

    Even in a pre-Covid era like during the OSA rule of plenty when money was ‘No Problem and spending on projects based on ego-driven and political party electoral success factors was paramount those kind of “unsexy” projects still would not see the light of day even if it is shining from the backside of a cash cow on Culloden farm.

    You are dealing with a set of uncultured philistine politicians and mis educated bureaucrats.

    How else do you explain the BWA (and its agents) act of pure architectural savagery at the Fort George reservoir?

  11. @Miller

    That ain’t true renovations got steal in them too.

    You aint read about the fellow that get pay 1 million TT dollars for painting a few windows in the Red House renovation?

  12. We could all learn from this pandemic experience unless we are Igrunt wrasse whole idiots.

    The government of Barbados must make water available to its citizens all day everyday by any means necessary irregardless of cost.

    Covid 19 should be a wake up call. It is impractical to wash your hands for 20 seconds without running water.

    The level of hand washing and showering recommended requires runinng water.

  13. Wunna hear government said “our finances have been badly affected with the covid 19 virus.”

    Translated this mean a few things.

    First wunna don’t come begging for no incentives or eases cause we brek!

    Secondly understand we going run a big blasted deficit this year that wunna going have to finance as taxpayers!

    Thirdly we got 30 ministers to pay and we can’t risk none crossing the floor to join Caswell, as he mouth already too blasted big and he always embarrassing we!

    Seriously though this government is in no position financially to do much. If it puts us in more debt with a stimulus package that is not carefully thought out, we will have that cost and little to show for it.

    To understand the stimulus package that needs to be implemented one must first understand the post covid economy. In other words with little tourism activity in the short to medium term, tourism CAN NOT be at the nucleus of any stimulus package. The stimulus package has to target the domestic economy, especially activities outside the tourism base. The stimulus money also needs to stimulate economic activity in those areas that will conserve FX as well. Hence agriculture and alternative energy should be major benefits of these funds.

    In other words if you try the same old pre covid approach, wunna going fail miserably and left the taxpayers to pick up the cost of the stimulus package. Make a mistake on this and we will have little to show for it except a massive deficit

    So all at wunna now I dun talking!

  14. “Where will the resources come from in a post covid era? ”

    they should all check their offshore bank accounts, am sure there are couple billion dollars lying around here and there in other people’s jurisdications…that have a lot of STEAL in them….wuh it’s not like they can move it around anymore anyhow and besides…they don’t need it now…scamming days done..

  15. @ David May 11, 2020 9:25 AM

    As a start cut the number of ministers. Cut the number of sycophants who are now being paid as consultants. Remove the so-called COVID-19 Czar and direct the savings towards the Library. Repair and utilize the many government buildings for offices and stop renting buildings from political contributors. The money saved from the latter in two-twos should be used to repair the Library. This foolishness of paying politicians pensions should be re-looked at and a more equitable pension scheme introduced. Ministers should be held financially responsible foe squandering tax payers money
    The measures outlined will solve the problem.

  16. @ David May 11, 2020 9:25 AM

    Equip the Barbados water authority with solar power to drive its pumps. The money saved by not paying the Electrical company for power generation would go a long way to solve the problem.

  17. @ John A May 11, 2020 11:50 AM

    Some very good points. The tourism project at Bay Street has started again. To my way of thinking this maybe a total waste of funds as I don’t expect tourism to recover any time soon.

  18. @ Miller May 11, 2020 10:23 AM

    What do you expect from the natives? They hate all buildings built before 1966 for obvious reasons and want to tear them down. Vice versa, everything built after 1966 is uninhabitable within 10 years. The public servants move from one building to the other like rats and termites after they have ruined the old building with dirt.

    Or check out Kensington. Such a small island with a totally impoverished population certainly does not need a stadium. The building is a huge investment ruin and financial disaster. Another example that OSA could not do math.

  19. @Robert

    First thank you. It is when I see projects like that being identified as our saving grace, that I realise government has not a clue what the post covid era needs.

    So let’s say they build this hotel then what? Barbados pre covid struggled to maintain an annual average occupancy rate of 60%. Is the logic now that in a post covid economy, we will now surpass our decade average and magically generate enough tourist arrivals on top of that figure to fill the Bay Street Light House?

    Cause I going tell you now if that is the plan God help all of us and this is why. Unless the going swim here they will need airlift. Both BA and Virgin are cutting their fleet. The parent company of BA has stated that they see at least 3 years being needed to return to 2019 levels of travel and that they can not keep a large fleet for 3 years with the hope this happens. Same story at Virgin.

    Now Trump is already talking about US based holiday travel to places like Florida and Puerto Rico. I have no doubt he will offer incentives for travel to these areas as well. After all why stimulate other people’s economies when you can help your own?

    So with the UK expecting a 3 year recovery for air travel And Trump targeting home based tourism with aid and incentives where does that leave us?

    Well I glad you asked. The plan is to build more hotels and bank on tourism. I mean after all the Hyatt Barbados unlike all the other hotels in the region going got gold sprinkle in the sand pun Bay Street!

  20. What is the latest on the Graeme Hall Sanctuary?

    Take a good look at the video below. I know nothing of the politics behind The Graeme Hall Sanctuary. What I do know was that a man of vision (a foreigner – nothing new for Barbados!) came up with a grand idea to regreen a part of the country that would have restored our last remaining wet land. The video highlights what could have been if we as a nation had had the courage to have pursued this man’s lofty ambitions. The project appears to have been shelved. Sadly, the Sanctuary has become a reservoir for sewage overspill!

    The Graeme Hall Sanctuary would not have had the greatness of our neighbours wetlands such as Costa Rica or The Bahamas; however it would have brought much needed diversity to Barbados monotonous landscape. I believe that the current administration is currently developing a botanical garden. Good luck to them. I can guarantee that it will not be a patch on the Graeme Hall Sanctuary – if it had been given the opportunity to have developed.

    Meanwhile, we deem it necessary to continue to build concrete monstrosities for Johnny Foreigner which cuts of access to the beach for the locals. Imagine if the Graeme Hall Sanctuary were completed could you dream of how many locals would have had the opportunity to have immersed themselves in the beauty of a green landscape whilst having at its centre a wetland showcasing the diverse bird life within the region. It makes you wonder if our leaders have made a pact barring the locals from seeing the possible beauty of Barbados whilst limiting the natives to “Reggae on the hill” and “Crop (Crap) over”. How terribly sad.

  21. (Quote):
    The plan is to build more hotels and bank on tourism. I mean after all the Hyatt Barbados unlike all the other hotels in the region going got gold sprinkle in the sand pun Bay Street! (Unquote).

    We are sure you have heard that oft repeated saying that the proof of the [Hyatt hotel] pudding is in the eating [construction].

    Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirror antics for PR purposes to gloss over the political agenda.

    We ought to be finding out where this money is coming from to meet the cost of this so-called pre-construction ‘preparatory’ works? Is it being underwritten by the BTII in this PPP?

    Have the Rams been compensated for the compulsory acquisition of their property? And with whose money? The Bajan taxpayers?

    BTW, has the Blue Horizon (a half-baked hotel project) been put on the renovations back burner or thrown in the investment garbage bin like the All Seasons?

  22. @ TLSN May 11, 2020 2:41 PM

    “Imagine if the Graeme Hall Sanctuary were completed could you dream of how many locals would have had the opportunity to have immersed themselves in the beauty of a green landscape whilst having at its centre a wetland showcasing the diverse bird life within the region.”

    And this is exactly where the future of tourism lies!

    In the ecological attributes of the country and its surrounding sea similar to what is happening in Costa Rica especially in a post-Covid environmentally sensitive world.

    You are a person of vision.

  23. @Miller

    I can tell you the money to finance a hotel in today’s world would not come from ” traditional finance sources.”

    As you probably remember Branson went to the banking sector in the UK to seek financing for his airline and was told “no sir go to government too high risk for us.”

    Royal Caribbean watched their shares fall from close to $140 USD to just over $30 USD and again had to go to Trump for financing as a last resort. Not sure if they got anywhere either with the Don.

    My point is established companies in tourism with years of history are not being entertained by the financial sector, so where the Light House money coming from in the same environment?

  24. The original Discovery Bay hotel was built on swamp land in Holetown about 50 years ago.

    Bajans were not environmentally aware at that time.

    Starfish Discovery Bay will undertake the extensive renovation projects as previously communicated.

  25. @ John A May 11, 2020 2:53 PM
    I can tell you the money to finance a hotel in today’s world would not come from ” traditional finance sources.””

    Of course we are singing in the same choir where funding for the construction of new hotel projects in a sunset industry of beach-based tourism would be like finding a cure for Covid by the end of ‘May’.

    The question of the financing of the Hyatt project has always been a pet peeve of national concern for the miller.

    Who in his or her sane economic mind would be against a project which is guaranteed to inject US$ 200 million into the comatose Bajan economy?

    The concern is one about the source of that money.

    Is the money required to erect the Hyatt Lighthouse coming by way of an injection of Foreign Direct Investment or from local sources like Malmoney & Co piggybanks, private sector commercial lenders or the NIS?

    If the source is local then the Lighthouse would clearly be putting tremendous strain on the country’s foreign reserves borrowed from the IMF with little expectations of the forex bank being replenished in the near future by earnings from tourism, the country’s former main generator of foreign income now under a Covid cloud of uncertainty.

  26. Our main problem is not finance It is the availability of markets for what we produce. It is the closing of these markets that caused the decline in jobs,foreign exchange and income.
    Just in case we are losing focus. Is stimulus money a medium or long-term solution? It is a short term inadequate remedy. It buys time for the economic agents to regroup and re-calibrate.,

  27. @ Vincent.

    Yes I agree that is why it is so critical to use it where we can get the best return. To invest any in tourism is ad I said before is like buying a bigger boat to fish in a barren ocean and expecting better catches.

  28. @ Miller,

    I agree with your sentiments. Now that we are living with Covid-19, I wonder if our government would be prepared to revisit The Graeme Hall Sanctuary with the intention of cooperating with Peter Allard; with the sole aim of reopening the sanctuary.

    What do they have to lose (the government) apart from their pride? Or are they going to place all their chips on the construction/hotel industry?

    At least Bajans will have somewhere decent to visit during the next three years of austerity.

  29. “The truth is, it is not prohibitively expensive…..Solutions Barbados recommends that VAT on construction materials be waived, for all developments that are built to withstand major earthquakes, and Category 5 hurricanes.”

    If it is not prohibitive make it mandatory.

  30. Well according to this release, not only does the low crawling employer not want to pay out insurance claims as is well known, but now being accused of breaking labor laws with illegally trying to cut workers pay. All these labor crimes should not only be exposed across the world but also reported to ILO. No surprise Harris would do this, it is totally expected. In the best of times these criminals dont want to pay salaries, no one should accept any pay cut in these times, let these greedy sows go to hell and expose them to the world.


    The Nation Barbados
    Loop Barbados
    Barbados Today
    Barbados Government Information Service


    Mia Amor Mottley
    Dale Marshall
    Colin E. Jordan
    The Barbados Workers’ Union

    To Whom It May Concern:

    This is a letter I received of which, on sound proof and evidence, I was informed has been issued to several employees of the Sandy Crest Medical Centre.

    The last 2 paragraphs are of particular concern.

    Let me make it clear, without the need for any legalese or unnecessary jargon: this is ILLEGAL.

    It constitutes an underhanded attempt at constructive dismissal, and to force vulnerable employees to accept LESS PAY than that to which they are contractually entitled.

    If you want to lay off people, PAY THEM OUT. Do NOT try to FORCE THEM TO ACCEPT SHORT PAY, you are DEAD WRONG.

    And if I hear that a single employee of your medical facility has been targeted because of the release of this letter, I will commence a representative action on behalf of ALL Sandy Crest employees to have this matter dealt with immediately.

    Do the right thing now, or I will be making sure that no family member, friend, associate, or anyone I know of, ever does business with your facility ever again, and everyone will know what kind of business you are running.

    That is all.

    cc: Sandy Crest and Coverley Medical Centres
    Sandy Crest Medical Center,

  31. Question for the BU family. It looks like Grenville has made a decision to stop commenting on BU. Should the blogmaster refuse to upload his submissions? Grenville can be seen posting all over Facebook, he obviously sees that forum as more fitting the image of a political leader?

  32. @ David BU at 6 :28 PM

    One must allow the tares to grow along with the wheat.One never knows who is a political leader.

  33. David May 13, 2020 6:28 PM
    I expect given the recent content of his submissions, that even on a politically sensitive blog, they will garner less and less attention. Death by natural causes is preferable. He seems incapable of shedding the ‘one man band’ image.

  34. @David, 🙂 … re “It looks like Grenville has made a decision to stop commenting on BU. Should the blogmaster refuse to upload his submissions?” … So wait, YOU DID UPLOADING HE SUBMISSIONS SO HE WUD COME HEH AND COMMENTATE (and in soft voice low-case) …so dat peoples would come to de blog and read ! LOLROF

    Bro, life is a sweet conniption like that!

    If he has used the PR of the blog to the extent that he wanted and in your view has moved on …. then surely you in turn have every justification that having maxed out the blog’s benefits from him that you too can move on, TOO!

    (I loved how Natlee used to say that, ‘TOO’.. btw, whatever became of her … as we are discussing how men, women and blogs prostrate ourselves for publicity!)

    As long as we remember that ‘do fah do ain’t obeah’, then it’s all good! 🙂

    I gone.

    • Natalee has reverted to what she does best, or so the blogmaster was made to understand.

  35. Breathe Easier.

    Construction sites are dangerous places to work. In a literal blink of an eye, workers can lose their eyes, fingers, limbs or lives.

    Construction workers operating high-powered dust-generating equipment, should always maintain control of that equipment . To assist them, they may wear inexpensive dust masks, or relatively expensive respiratory masks. Both are specifically designed to filter dust, and allow the operator to breathe easily, while safely operating the equipment.

    The Government strongly recommended that Barbadians wear cloth face masks in public. This has now become a mandatory requirement for working or doing businesses outside of the home. They are even seen on construction sites.

    Cloth masks are not designed: to filter dust, to be worn safely for long periods, or for deep breathing during strenuous work. The loss of fine cloth fibres may be observed by putting cloth fabric in a clothes drier. Those fibres should not be in human lungs – which is likely with deep breathing or prolonged use of cloth masks.

    A wave of respiratory ailments, from the frequent reuse of cloth masks, is now foreseen. Therefore, hastily given instructions in response to the COVID-19 threat, should now be reviewed. Given the number of Barbadians now at risk, the cloth mask should top that list.

    If the Government still wants to promote the use of cloth masks, then a safe cloth-mask design should be provided to the public. Existing cloth masks should then be upgraded to the safe design, or discarded.

    While we await the safe cloth mask design, Solutions Barbados recommends that the relatively inexpensive dust masks should be considered – they only cost about 45 cents each, and are already designed to be safe.

    Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

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