A PAC Affair @Transport Board

For anyone searching for comic relief during the stressful times we have to endure these days, especially with COVID 19 about, tune in to Public Account Committee (PAC) Hearings. Recordings are available online on Facebook, YouTube, Barbados Parliament websites- you have no excuse to not avail yourself of this stress buster.

The PAC under the chairmanship of Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley is currently probing what appears to onlookers to be GROSS mismanagement and malfeasance at the Transport Board covered in the Auditor General Special Audit Report for 2017-2018 period.

Public Accounts Committee Session – 7 September 2020

A couple questions after watching some of the hearing,

  1. Under what circumstances should former chairman of the Transport Board (TB) Anthony Wiltshire have been allowed to use his personal credit card to purchase bus parts? If the line of credit of the Board was cancelled, the ministry of finance should have intervened to implement a better arrangement.
  2. It is obvious the Board under Wiltshire reneged on its responsibility to hold the Board of Management accountable for several foul ups, bleeps and blunders revealed during the PAC sessions so far.
  3. The pace at which the PAC is scheduling meetings, it is unlikely a final report will be available in the near future. It leaves a suspicious mind to believe completion of PAC reports are timed to gain political advantage. In this case a general election has appeared in the rear view mirror. Former General Manager (GM) Sandra Forde indicated she was prepared to answer all questions at the last sitting, her offer was declined because the chairman was committed to a hard stop at 5.15PM.
  4. The CEO of the TB Fabian Wharton seems to be an improved version of former GM Sandra Forde but the blogmaster is always worried when a CEO cannot speak fluently about P&L matters.

All Barbadians should be concerned about the lack of professionalism practised at the TB exposed in the ongoing PAC meetings and Auditor General reprot. The TB is a statutory board responsible for soaking up millions in subsidies under BLP and DLP governments, borrowed NIS funds and padded the workforce with yardfowls at taxpayers expense. The blogmaster is hopeful financial controller Felicia Sue will not be the fall girl for what has transpired.

The comedy fest will continue in about two weeks.

97 comments

  • Another Rabbit hole

    Liked by 1 person

  • For anyone searching for comic relief during the stressful times we have to endure these days, especially with COVID 19 ..

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Why keep harping on COVID-19 when the epidemic is over.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @John

    We have a Covid Page, be off!

    Like

  • If it is comedy, it is tragicomedy!

    Like

  • And no, it is definitely not a rabbit hole. I happen to KNOW that quite well.

    Transport Board transactions were definitely not above board.

    Like

  • When the government had very few buses, they missed a golden opportunity to semi or fully privatize the Transport Board and reduce their involvement in the sector to one of transport regulator, route management and facilities maintainer.

    Instead, they perpetuated the cycle again with buying buses the country does not need when the whole industry simply wants restructuring. We should not have some routes with too many buses and PSV and others with not enough.

    Like

  • The new CEO made a valid point during the hearing, that is spending millions to repair VERY OLD buses.

    Like

  • A stitch in time saves nine, David. T

    I am beginning to agree with Critical Analyzer that it should be privatized. What is tha argument against it again?

    Like

  • @Donna

    The usual argument is that public transportation is a public good and to privatize will compromise a social responsibility absorbed by government. The blogmaster is worried that the Transport Authority has not delivered to date. There was a promise this unit would have been injected some leadership to the sector.

    Like

  • Trevor Eastman, wrote de TB ludicrous script. However, de people await his speedy recovery.

    Like

  • David,

    you seem to be getting disappointed with the promises made yet unfulfilled. if so, i wish you a speedy recovery lol

    Like

  • The comedy, as it has been described, began as soon as the video clip posted started. I couldn’t help but wonder, if Minister Jordan, who prior to his current Ministry, which oversees the NIS, he was a board member of the NIS, along with NIS Chair (is he still Chair?) Mr Gooding Edghill, were tasked with answering similar questions to those he posed. Add in the former NIS top employee, now Director of Finance, and this would make for riveting theater. Especially if the Blogmaster and I were invited to ask questions on the PAC for the NIS.

    Like

  • Disgusting Lies and Propaganda TV

    I am convinced this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the NONSENSE that happened under the DLP especially in the 2013-2018 term. What this piss poor chairman should have done was to strongly advise the Govt that the Transport Board operations MUST come to a HALT!!!!!! The financial situation at the time could not allow the TB to continue!!!!!!!! BUT no this chairman is going to say all the Financial Controller was preaching was “doom and gloom” so out of a warped sense of “duty” to his government and country…he was going to use his personal credit card to aid the TB!!!!!. Not only that, this chairman TESTIFIES that the Minister of Transport gave his tacit APPROVAL for him to use his credit card!!!!!!!!
    Not only does he breach financial procedures but he as a CHAIRMAN goes over the GM head gets directly involved in operations and directly interfaces with this consultant hired to improve the turnout of buses. As youngsters today would say…. you cant make this sht up. This is sht of the highest order.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Northern Observer

    Yours is an incisive comment.

    Like

  • Isn’t Reginald Farley also supposed to Chair the NIS?

    Like

  • NEWS
    President announces $25,000 for each household in COVID relief

    President Irfaan Ali speaking today.

    By Staff Editor September 7, 2020

    President Irfaan Ali this afternoon announced a series of COVID-19 relief measures including $25,000 for each household.

    He announced the removal of VAT from medical supplies and building and construction materials where VAT was imposed after 2014.

    The ban on used tyres and importation of vehicles over eight years has now been reversed.

    A 15,000 cash grant for school children from January 2020 was announced along with a doubling of the uniform school voucher allowance to four thousand dollars per child.

    Two weeks of a tax-free bonus has been announced for the Joint Services and for health workers. $150M has also been set aside for front line health workers
    The pension is to be raised to 25,000 per month from January 2020. The current figure is $20,000.

    Government will set aside some $5 billion for the struggling sugar industry which will go directly to GuySuCo to reopen the closed sugar estates, create jobs and economically rejuvenate the suffering communities.

    Starbroek network news

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Sargeant

    Is that so? Thought it is Persaud. The NIS website shows him as deputy.

    https://www.nis.gov.bb/about-us/

    Like

  • Guyana $25000 is US $ 120

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Hants

    Does Guyana have an unemployment benefit scheme?

    >

    Like

  • Thanks Hants, it appears Guyana has some work to do to mirror what we offer in Barbados.

    Like

  • Wuh evuhbody know bout Guyana dollars!

    Steupse! Some people just cannot have an honest conversation!

    Sickening.

    Like

  • lol…🤣😂

    and now the poor and innocent are stuck with a race war because of backward ignorant leaders stuck in the 18th century, both in Guyana and across Barbados and St. Vincent..

    Like

  • @ Donna gentile lady,

    You do Mariposa a major disservice with your comment at 2.22 pm

    This version of the DLP towncrier DOES NOT KNOW what $25,000 Guyanese is.

    She is the epitome of idiocy and cretinism and is representative of the calibre of intellect the DLP has

    Like

  • Mariposa,

    Barbados cannot afford this. Guyana is a thriving country with 50 % economic growth this year – despite COVID19. Guyanese people work from 7 AM to 6 PM six days per week, Barbadians not more than 20 hours per week. What Guyanese call labour, Barbadians call infringement of human rights and slavery.

    You cannot compare the new Caribbean powerhouse with an overpopulated island with a dead one-industry-economy.

    It is time for Barbadians to emigrate to Guyana and work there in the Chinese gold mines and on the Hindu plantations.

    Like

  • @ Piece the Prophet September 9, 2020 2:46 PM

    “She is the epitome of idiocy and cretinism and is representative of the calibre of intellect the DLP has”

    Oh you great prophet!

    Are you implying that Big Sinck is hiding behind this pseudonym, this spiritual pygmy, this shrunken head version of a DLP grandee?

    By the way, what do you think of my thesis that Mia Mottley will send old Prescott on a death mission to Ghana, just like she used up OSA in Guyana and LIAT in the last spring?

    Like

  • “It is time for Barbadians to emigrate to Guyana”
    So Trong have you filed your application yet? Don’t tell me you aren’t Barbadian.. lol

    Like

  • It’s very evident de
    Hon. John King M.P Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports will assumed de chairmanship of Barbados Transport Board. De track record tells us ???

    Rommel Marshall can replace de useless consulting firm???

    De new Ebusses single charge,
    280 kilometers, Battery life 10-12 years, clean air, less noise, low maintenance. One of de exceptional economic investments under Freundel Stewart GOV for de people…????

    “Lottie” you calling from de bus 🚌 stop?????? No Alfred, from de TB circus 🎪

    Like

  • @ Critical Analyzer September 9, 2020 10:15 AM
    “When the government had very few buses, they missed a golden opportunity to semi or fully privatize the Transport Board and reduce their involvement in the sector to one of transport regulator, route management and facilities maintainer.
    Instead, they perpetuated the cycle again with buying buses the country does not need when the whole industry simply wants restructuring. We should not have some routes with too many buses and PSV and others with not enough.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The privatization of the financially beleaguered Transport Board (TB) has been on the IMF’s wish list for a very long time.

    There is no way the TB can be viable under the prevailing financial conditions where most of the ‘limited’ revenues from mass public transport accrue to a myriad of small private sector operators, both legal and illegal.

    Moreover, the IMF (under BERT) views the TB as a fiscal parasite which can only survive on massive and growingly unaffordable subsidies.

    What the government has done is to make the TB ‘liquidation’ sale more attractive through the recent capital investment in e-buses.

    The TB would then be offloaded for a song with the investment in the e-fleet treated as a ‘sunk’ cost; whether the acquisition took place under an outright purchase or lease arrangement.

    The only hiccup to the pending divestment is the necessary elimination of the many ‘small’ operators dominating the more profitable routes.

    The cancellation of permits would have serious political ramifications given how they were ‘assigned’ in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Tron the Jester Supreme

    How you good self?

    The Prophet was wondering what has become of you but i see that you are still here mekking sport at Mugabe and all her courtesans as Jesters do

    And still not beheaded!

    Where your article is? bout sending Trevor “Back to Africa” where he gine get eat by lions?

    I see that you have not lost your renown comical skills!

    We dun know that Mariposa is a multi-identity single user DPL pseudonym and that the Minister of Fine Ants who dont even know how to divide 7 ten to the minus 2, does post under that single ID!

    She is not the only one here who uses one ID but many people post under it!

    I feel dat if Trevor get he new appointment in Africa, what gine happen is dat Mugabe gine dig up Thompson bones and send he back to africa wid Trevor.

    You see de headlines?

    “David BACK IN AFRICA” and dat Dictator Mugabe send he deah to be with his ancestors.

    In fact Tron i feel dat it could start of a new industry of ancestral repatriation.

    Where instead of of slave remains dem could add some cocaine shipments to the remains and claim dat opening de coffins would be disrespectful for de ancestors

    Whu you tink?

    Like

  • Piece, You Great Prophet!

    What a great idea. However, ever considered that Roger Khan and his Phantom Squad might torpedo HMS Barbados steaming back to Africa?

    One more thing. Read this: https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/09/09/irish-investor-blasts-local-court-system-for-slow-delivery-of-justice/

    I had no idea WARU was a rich white Irish investor. Well, you can be wrong. LOL. Allan McIntosh’s inflammatory speech against the local justice system fits perfectly into the discourse on BU.

    Liked by 1 person

  • There is a lot you don’t know….you think it’s all about the Irish dude…and you would be dead wrong. If ya were on here longer than 12 months, you would know my real intent…..sure as shit not about to side with a bunch of black faces in the parliament who allow racism and thefts to be practiced against their own people.

    Like

  • Nation Newspaper EDITORIAL

    Tell us more, Minister

    THE NEWS THIS WEEK that Government, specifically new Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources Ian Gooding-Edghill, reversed its plans along the busy Upper Green Hill, St Michael stretch, has warmed the hearts of many who use that thoroughfare, if we gauge from the numerous responses by the public.
    From last Friday, motorists had been greeted with a “surprise” when they travelled from the Everton Weekes roundabout in Warrens onto Green Hill, with one lane heading towards Bridgetown, instead of the customary two. There was also a “No right turn” sign indicating traffic coming from Green Hill could no longer turn into the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic, instead having to go around the roundabout and return.
    After a major public outcry in the newspapers, call-in programmes and on social media, Government, with the Minister on site, made an abrupt about-turn.
    What, however, has raised some alarm for us is the method by which the initial decision was made to switch lanes. For the Minister, new as he may be (about a month and a half in office), to readily admit that it was neither him nor his permanent secretary who made the decision – in fact, they didn’t have a clue about the matter, as reported – left us with a simple question: If not you, then who?
    We find it remarkable that in this day and age a member or members of such a vital department of state would be making decisions, and following through with the action to boot, without the knowledge and approval of, the Minister as well as the public servant in charge – the permanent secretary.
    To quote Gooding-Edghill: “There is a policy position within the ministry which has been established that where major works of a disruptive nature are contemplated, the permanent secretary has to be notified. The Minister would then be notified by the permanent secretary and then the Minister will then make a determination whether he can make the decision or if he believes the decision should be forwarded to the Cabinet. “The situation that occurred here was never discussed with me, it was not discussed with the permanent secretary, and we’ve taken the decision and that is why the team from the [ministry] is here making the changes,” he said on Monday night as he supervised the repainting of road markings to restore the “old order”.
    He added: “I don’t know what went wrong. I can tell you that there is a policy position and the policy wasn’t followed.”
    Is the Minister then implying that someone or people in his ministry have gone rogue? If so, what message is this sending to the public? Is there more in the mortar than the pestle?
    Will the offender(s) be allowed to get away with this major faux pas?
    But we also ask: should the Minister have simply taken ultimate responsibility, as is the norm under the Westminster system of government, instead of washing his hands of the actions by pleading ignorance? Or was he simply mopping up a mess he may have inherited?
    It is therefore, incumbent on the Minister to provide the public, the taxpayers, the ones who ultimately have to pay the cost of this wastage, with some answers. He must fully explain how this could have occurred under his watch, and what action will be taken to ensure there is not a recurrence.
    It is simply called accountability, something this administration has been touting in its more than two years in office. To do otherwise would be going down the wrong road.
    ‘I don’t know what went wrong.
    I can tell you that there is a policy position and the policy wasn’t followed.’

    Liked by 1 person

  • To all who trash Guyana Model for economy recover
    Where is Barbados model
    Not one cent has been placed in the hands of barbadians whose pocket books were catspraddle to pay debt and taxes
    Bring it on! it doesnt matter how much the worth
    What matters is the intent the value and what benefit it gives to the people and country
    Mia spends millions to blow up the NIS building where is the value or benefit to the country all seen so far is rubble laying on the ground
    People being deprived severance pay and NIS benefits
    All u talking heads deal with those issue

    Like

  • Meanwhile all await the Throne speech to hear what the Queen Bee has to say
    Lol

    Like

  • @Mariposa 5:15 a m.
    “What matters is the intent the value and what benefit it gives to the people and country”

    Let me remind you of the saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

    Besides not having the resources, it would be a mistake and an insult if the government offer each citizen a pittance.

    I did not confirm the calculations, but one-time gift of US $120 would be seen as nothing more than a gimmick. In fact, I can see you riding that horse we well past its death.

    Like

  • How quickly we forget govt had no qualms about executing tax waivers and lowering taxes to benefit some
    On the other hand the people who suffered through the economic turmoil doing so whilst helping govt pull the debt basket must not even be offered a pittance
    How insulting
    Did numbers matter when govt gave away millions to businesss
    Yet we find some of these businesses awaiting govt help to pay NIS.under threats of not rehiring
    Give me a break

    Liked by 2 people

  • The blogmaster continued to read the postings and recordings of the PAC and has come to the conclusion the TB was used as a cash cow for some to feast from the pockets of taxpayers. The useless Chairman was obviously taking instruction from the minister Michael LAshley and others. It would be a good ending if some of these people ended up with a charge.

    Meeting minutes missing, says CEO
    MINUTES RECORDED from several meetings of the Transport Board for a period now under investigation by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) cannot be found.
    This was revealed by current Transport Board chief executive officer (CEO) Fabian Wharton yesterday after Public Accounts Committee chairman, Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley, expressed concern that his committee could not find some board meeting minutes.
    While Wharton indicated it was known that “several” board meetings had been held for which he assumed minutes had been recorded, he said he had carried out an extensive search and could not find the minutes in question, though he disclosed the PAC had been furnished with minutes recorded for 17 meetings.
    Wharton’s revelation came as the PAC continued investigation into a range of issues highlighted in a recent Auditor General’s report surrounding questionable practices in the board’s previous operations. Among them, Atherley yesterday cited “replicated invoices” for work done, “high frequency of repairs” and “a missing bus”.
    The performance of former chairman Anthony Wiltshire has been under scrutiny, and in his third appearance before the committee yesterday, Wiltshire was again grilled by committee members, with Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands making a harsh assessment of his decisions.
    “We have been asking questions in relation to the way in which the Transport board was managed; we have been asking questions in relation to how the board saw its function as watching over the activities of the Transport Board to ensure that policy is carried out and to ensure that the board was properly run…” Husbands said.
    Not satisfied
    She told Wiltshire she was “not satisfied” with his answers on the issues raised by the committee.
    “The financial state of the Transport Board was such an issue that you stated to this committee that resources were so tight that you made decisions to purchase more expensive things locally because of having access to credit rather than find the resources to be able to buy things from overseas that were in many cases two or three hundred per cent cheaper. You also said you implemented the project with Mr Bartholomew (a Trinidadian consultant hired by the board to work on a bus repair project at the Mangrove, St Philip depot) because the problem was so great…” But quoting from minutes for January 2018 which gave a review of what was happening with the finances up until that time, Husbands pointed out revenue collected year to date was just in excess of $22 million
    when compared with anticipated revenue of $32 million, while expenditure was $62 million.
    She concluded that the project for which Bartholomew had been brought in to “right” things had “failed miserably in achieving the objective it was meant to achieve”.
    In his defence, Wiltshire who throughout the PAC inquiry has found himself being grilled about decisions he made on the board’s behalf, said he had taken the personal decision to use his credit card to aid the board in difficult circumstances.
    Former general manager Sandra Forde also expressed her belief that it was Wiltshire’s commitment to seeing the board through its challenging circumstances that led him to use his personal credit card for board purchases. (GC)

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Mariposa

    Once more you are right. What you are talking about is called, in the jargon, quantitative easing, or helicopter money, and it is practised all over the developed world. It was during the banking crisis of 2008, and it is now with the economic crisis follow CoVid, with governments giving trillions of dollars to industry and individuals.
    (On another note, furlough, as one of the payments to individuals is called, is another form of unemployment benefits. The beneficiaries are unemployed under another name).
    When the Japanese first introduced the policy in the 1990s, the idea was that households would go out and spend, but Japanese being Japanese, they banked it.
    I have said before, @Mariposa, you bring a level of policy discussion to BU that is generally missing, apart from the political barking. The predators and gunslingers simply want to prove you wrong. What they do is say more about themselves than they intend.

    Like

  • I guess the stamp of approval has been given, so the discussion is closed.

    Does the government has the money?
    Sometimes we look at what other governments did and believe that we can do the same. Can we?

    Do we think that giving “trillions” to industry can be reproduced here? What industry?
    What trillions?
    At times we have to let go of the grand ideas and focus on the food on our plate.

    Going to rely on the braniacs but it seem easier to say “I forgive your debt”, than to dole out hard cash.. or are you advocating to just print money…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Anytime we are talking about GOB and we talk trillions my eyes glaze over

    Let’s focus on what we is facing us. It is more than a sterile debate.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Theo

    I have been trying to decipher between your passive/aggressive contribution what is the point you are making. No one expects Barbados to spend ‘trillions’ on quantitative easing. Read what I said and you will see I said ‘developed’ world. Is Barbados developed?
    The one question you ask that makes sense is if I am advocating that Barbados should print money. In short yes. Long befoere the lunancy of defaulting we should have embarked on a massive infrastructure programme, which I have said on BU numerous times.
    Send the bulldozers in to the slums of the City and rebuild; send the bulldozers in to Weymouth and the Transport Board on Roebuck Street and rebuild.
    Such a programme would provide the same economic benefits as quantitative easing, and the nation would benefit for generations from it. The debt could be repaid also over generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Gazert u are truly amazing
    Do u read local news
    Isnt the govt about to and have already given millions of dollars in quantitative easing to the Tourism industry
    Where did that money come from
    At least all knows that millions govt holds to pay debt came from the pockets of hard working barbadians
    As old folks often say one hand helps the other
    The govt took charge of pensioners money
    So why can govt help to ease barbadians financial pain
    If u want to count numbers go back to the many years govt have help the tourist Industry and still today the Industry is leaning on govt support
    Meanwhile barbadians are asked to hold strain and pull the debt laden basket
    Have a heart negro

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Mariposa

    A few years ago I wrote something about financial economics on BU. Some wise spark, a a regular, either Googled or somehow read a differing view written by a guy in Britain and alluded I was wrong.
    It so happened that I knew the guy who had written the piece and pointed out that I had been a journalist before he was born; had been an editor longer than he had been in journalism; that we were educated to the same level; and we both were foreigners in the UK: I was born in the Caribbean, he in France.
    I asked the BU person if someone had presented him with differing views from people with the above CVs, which would he go for? He did not reply.
    A few weeks ago I wrote on BU that we had to re-define what we meant by unemployment. Someone obviously did not agree, and Googled a definition and came back and said I was wrong. Not that he did not agree with me that we needed to re-define unemployment, and include people in prisons.
    @Mariposa, this is a pattern, a cultural one, embedded in the saying “don’t mind him, man; I know him.” There is never any attempt to discuss the idea, it is always one of attack and rejection based on who made the statement.
    Don’t let them put you off.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Hal
    The Google phenomenon is an interesting one. All the data is there but with out an understanding of the underlying issues and context that data can not be converted to knowledge.

    Some people would be better off not using Google because then they would at least be honest about their ignorance.

    Liked by 1 person

  • COVID has exposed those who have reached the top and gladly with the use of both feet has not hesitated to kick the ladder down
    Meanwhile big business step up to the plate with hands held out and no questions asked
    Is this the mirror image expected of our people

    Like

  • @ Dullard

    You are absolutely right. Google is a guide, not a statement of absolute truth. You should always verify what is found on Google. I remember when someone Googled and came back claiming I had said I was a financial adviser.
    I pointed out I had never done so, but in any case, to claim to be an independent financial adviser in the UK when not regulated is a criminal offence and that that person was claiming I was effectively committing an offence.
    He still carried on until he gently stopped. There have been others, but that is a good example.

    Like

  • Man, when EVERY COMMENT from a particular person is met with a “spot on” it says something about the person who says that.

    NOBODY is spot on every time.

    Mia can give my $240 Bds to somebody who needs it.

    Targeted payouts to those who need them is far more sensible. They have no choice but to spend it ALL. Welfare checks, extended unemployment benefits etc. are the way to go.

    As far as I know these things are being done.

    Next!

    Like

  • @Donna

    Always reluctant to respond to commenters who are not aware of that is happening on island. We have unemployment benefit and there is talk about the government extending for additional 6 months and others qualify for welfare benefit based on means testing.

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  • What is being done is like a piss in the hands to barbadian workers
    Lest we forget that Boss initiative to help govt projects will take away money from tge workers pocket
    Lest we forget that a 5percent which was promised has eroded into thin air
    Lest we forget that taxes and fees are included as loss revenue for the barbados household
    Hammer away all u want but the what is being handed out does not bodes well with the realities on the ground

    Next

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  • Reluctant u should be cause every since govt became mangers of Barbados u have shown your true colors M

    Like

  • Hal AustinSeptember 10, 2020 7:01 AM

    Infrastructural rebuild, as you say, will provide significantly greater economic benefit than handouts to specific groups.

    As you would know, that was the go to in times of low economic activity, re jobs and jump starting an economy. I totally agree with you.

    The other benefits of infrastructure rebuild, re urban renewal, improved visuals for the tourism product, increased well being of the people involved in such relocation, improved transport etc are also enormous and will have lasting benefits.

    To borrow money for future revenues and benefit is of significantly greater utility, than to borrow money to hand out, especially to hand out where you have no accounting for its use.

    100%.

    Liked by 1 person

  • To be clear, I am sympathetic to the government in attempting to guide the country through the worst crisis in history for one hundred years. Thus far, they have done a great job.

    However, that does not mean that strategies involved should be glossed over or taken to task. This time, more than any other, calls for prudent use of funds.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Crusoe

    We all want to see Barbados improve. What we may sometimes dispute is how to get there. You are right about infrastructural development. It is Keynes 101.
    As to the privatising of the utilities. Google Tell Sid. Those of us who remember that campaign can easily recommend it to the government. It certainly did not turn out how many of us would like, but the model is there.

    Like

  • I know you’re referring to me. However, I’ll admit to having Googled and read you were a former editor of “The Financial Adviser.” I’ll also admit during one of our ‘tit for tats,’ I purposely mentioned insurance salesmen in Barbados call themselves financial advisers and if you were a financial adviser, then you were essentially an insurance salesman. Yes, you explained the definition of a financial adviser as it relates to the UK and the legal implications if an individual falsely describes him/herself as such, which I accepted and moved on.

    To mention I “carried on until (I) gently stopped” is perhaps ‘manipulating the truth’ a bit.

    However, you could have opted to give a ‘much better, straightforward example,’ where another individual Googled and read you received an award as a result of being involved in a St. Lawrence Gap, tourism related project.

    In your defense, I pointed out had the individual checked the information thoroughly, he would have realized the Hal Austin mentioned therein was not you, but the Hal Austin who was project coordinator of the St Lawrence Gap Revitalization Project.

    Liked by 1 person

  • How about them buses.
    There needs to be an investigation
    The stories attached to these buses makes the odor surrounding these buses smell like rotten eggs

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  • @ Mariposa

    What exactly are your concerns about the new buses?

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  • Start with the correct price
    An invoice showing the correct price needs to be shown
    How much were the College of Negotiators paid
    Who are these Negotiators
    Why was it necessary for govt to source outside professionals to give opinion on the purchase of the buses

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  • I understand the buses were purchased for approximately US$10M or BD$20. The over BD$40M quoted included constructing the appropriate infrastructure to accommodate the buses; upgrading existing facilities, for example, constructing charging stations at Weymouth Headquarters, Mangrove Depot and Speightstown Terminal; providing operational and maintenance training.

    The ‘College of Negotiators’ were NOT “outside professionals” as you’re suggesting, but was comprised of a group of Barbadian professionals (e.g. lawyers, accountants, electrical engineers, technicians etc), chosen by TB and the Ministry. They were responsible for reviewing and evaluating the bids, as well as ensuring the process of selecting the winning bid and acquiring the buses remained transparent.

    However, in the interest of ‘transparency and accountability,’ I agree with you that an invoice or some official documentation showing a breakdown of the original cost of the buses, which includes the acquisition cost and costs incurred to prepare them for their intended purpose……… as well as the individuals chosen as negotiators and the associated fees, should be available for the public’s perusal.

    Like

  • Disgusting Lies & Propaganda TV

    The stories attached to these buses makes the odor surrounding these buses smell like rotten eggs

    Probably after 10 years of an administration not using the taxpayers money for what it ought to be put to like buying new buses you probably are not familiar with what a new bus should smell like!!!!!!. The rotten egg smell is probably from the PAC meetings when the former TB chairman talks out of his pooch!!!!!

    Like

  • Artax thank you for clarifying for the hyprocrite Mariposa and her spot on partner in England.I too heard Ms Lynda Holder on Brasstacks answer all of these cost questions which the Dems callers were trying to make an issue of.Ms Holder spoke also of the training of drivers , ambulance workers , BDF personnel, mechanics etc.She also spoke of the mainly positive response of the commuters with the air conditioning in these buses.Therefore for Dems like Mariposa and Austin who probably do not catch buses to be critical of the said buses tells you all you need to know about them.The same dems party they support did not buy one bus for 10 years and they cared about poor people.Mr Thompson took up 10 million dollars not of his money but the taxpayers money and placed in clico.Up to now i do not know if this money was repaid.Added to that Mr Thompson allegdedly wrote off several million dollars for the Turf Club.Were these poor people Mariposa ?At that time not a word from you as AC as you were then.Now all of a sudden since 2018 you know about poor people.You are a damn hyprocrite as well as yoir spot on partner who thought Mr Thompson based on a conversation thought he would be a great PM.As Bush Tea used to say oh ma shirt, spot on really should be in comedy fest.

    Like

  • Certain people are at the helm of spreading propaganda about the new buses. We’re now hearing about a need for investigations. Listen to the call-in-programs and you’ll hear the nonsense being spewed by people such as ‘Ms. Undecided.’ But, that’s their political agenda.

    Kudos must be given to TB for providing members of the emergency services, including BDF, Fire and Ambulance Services, with extensive training sessions.

    They have also engaged in discussions with the Blind Association and Council for the Disabled.

    Like

  • Too many unanswered questions about those buses
    We hear differing cost
    We hear about College Negotiators
    Who are these people
    Why was it necessary for govt to hire them
    Arent they professional engineers working at the Tb
    What so special about these buses that barbadians trained in the area of mechanics could not have investigate or give input on the buses
    How much were these Negotiators paid out of the public purses
    Everday there are nagging stories about the buses
    Truth be told the Invoices need to be placed in the public domain showing all related cost to those buses

    Like

  • @ Lorenzo September 10, 2020 6:47 PM

    And what do you think should be done to those who raped, financially speaking, the TB under the previous government?

    Not one finger will be lifted, prosecution wise, against this glaring case of highway robbery of a beleaguered SOE.

    But as Donville admitted, what took place at the TB is par for the course when it comes to ministerial performance.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that soon everything would be part of the ‘dark’ distant past; just like the evidence the long-dead David Thompson had against the ‘now’ dead OSA administration.

    What’s next on the toothless PAC’s agenda?

    The grand theft of the financial resources at the BWA involving the very close ‘lawyer friends’ of Fumble?

    We shall see what is left in MAM’s red bag of tricks since the Maloney volte face.

    Like

  • Artax you surely mean Ms Decided Dem.She talks as much ignorance as Mariposa puts on these blogs.Perhaps they are the same person.No two people could talk so much shite everyday.

    Like

  • Yuh see how talk of them buses brings out the govt security guard one aka Lorenzo
    Uh tell uh more in the mortar than.pestal
    Them buses got to be tied to corruption
    College Negotiators my big toe
    The same shit happened when Mia declared that no one im barbados could wheel and deal on barbados behalf then the tax payers ended up with a whopping wage bill for White Oaks
    These buses cost fuh wuh de spoke person said
    I would believe that story only if it snow in hell

    Like

  • Come off it, my friend. You’re being purposely disingenuous.

    I answered all those questions, so too did former acting TB general manager, Lynda Holder. Yet you returned to the forum asking the same questions, ‘saying’ “there are too many unanswered questions about those buses.”

    Perhaps you may want to share those “nagging stories about the buses” with the forum, unless they are figments of your imagination.

    Like

  • Mariposa

    Let us see how it looks in USD

    Mariposa September 9, 2020 12:55 PM

    NEWS
    President announces $119.51 USD for each household in COVID relief

    President Irfaan Ali speaking today.

    By Staff Editor September 7, 2020

    President Irfaan Ali this afternoon announced a series of COVID-19 relief measures including $119.51 USD for each household.

    He announced the removal of VAT from medical supplies and building and construction materials where VAT was imposed after 2014.

    The ban on used tyres and importation of vehicles over eight years has now been reversed.

    A $71.74 USD cash grant for school children from January 2020 was announced along with a doubling of the uniform school voucher allowance to nineteen, and twelve cents per child.

    Two weeks of a tax-free bonus has been announced for the Joint Services and for health workers. $717,157 USD has also been set aside for front line health workers
    The pension is to be raised to $119.51USD per month from January 2020. The current figure is $95.60.

    Government will set aside some $23,906,486 million for the struggling sugar industry which will go directly to GuySuCo to reopen the closed sugar estates, create jobs and economically rejuvenate the suffering communities.

    Starbroek network news

    Like

  • Taken from a mia Fan fb page

    When I think about our PM, I am so disappointed, from a youth minister, every body like this woman, we knew she would be PM, one day, and we all thought she would be a phenomenal woman, how wrong we were, we heard rumors and I put it down to jealousy, we admire the MOTTLEY clan, I personally like ❤ Elombe, very funny man, great personality, I also liked Mia, I thought she was charming, an humble, a go Getter, / would make a great leader, cawblemma, I don’t know what 😂happened, the real Mia like she get abducted, because this one is a mess, I don’t know if to cry or 😄, first she was going to build a pipeline to Trinidad, then she was going to build a bridge to St Lucia, next she was going to drill for oil, off b’dos, bare fantasy, Mia has done nothing as PM, anything extraordinary with the image she projected, still trying to figure out why her billionaire friends would not invest in b’ dos, now she want 80, 000 ppl, another pie in the sky fantasy, first thing, Mia cheap as hell, she don’t believe in giving to get, just take take take, so that int happening, one has to sweeten the pot, get them here first, how about lowering hotel rates, room levy is bare shite, all that should be included in the package up front, b’ dos is pricing it’s self out of the market, we have nothing to offer, , but sun,/ sand, no night life, same boring tours, no sports, no festival, zilch that would make money, no family entertainment for day cruises, Nada,

    Like

  • @ Cuhdear Bajan why not convert to Bajan dollars ?

    Like

  • Still waiting to see PM Mottley proposal
    People cant even get their back taxes and NIS
    Govt planned to extend unemployment by one week
    Meanwhile households budgets are down tp zero
    Again i ask where is Barbados proposals to help bajan households

    Like

  • @ Lorenzo

    By now you should realize the lady has a specific political agenda on BU. Today it’s spreading propaganda about the buses.

    So, despite whatever explanations are given and questions answered, she will purposely ignore them and ‘stick to the script.’

    Like

  • @ Hal Austin September 10, 2020 7:01 AM
    (Quote):
    Send the bulldozers in to the slums of the City and rebuild; send the bulldozers in to Weymouth and the Transport Board on Roebuck Street and rebuild.
    Such a programme would provide the same economic benefits as quantitative easing, and the nation would benefit for generations from it. The debt could be repaid also over generations. (Unquote).
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There is great merit to the above proposal to ‘undergird’ the much needed regeneration of a clearly dying Bridgetown.

    You have been prosecuting this ‘great’ proposal on BU for a long time.

    Maybe the consultants will now ‘hoist’ it from BU as they did PLT’s ‘nomad digital workers’ proposal.

    What’s the sense of calling a place a ‘city’ if people are not prepared to live and work there in a state of relative comfort and safety?

    If the old NIS building, the Fire station and the Ram’s rat pen could be demolished why not the dilapidated, unhealthy and unsafe housing slums which make Bridgetown looks worse than the favelas in Rio?

    Wouldn’t the act of building so-called 4 star skyscraper hotels in Bridgetown to look down on the Barbadoes version of favelas be a mere act of putting lipstick on a sick pig to make it look better?

    The construction of housing projects in socially uplifting ways would not only be a boom to the Bajan economy but also help in the fight against crime and urban decay.

    It will be Foreign Exchange well spent.

    Do that project, then the government can talk about bringing people to live and work in Bim to revitalize its ‘greying’ population.

    The only ‘downside’ to your proposal is where would the ‘existing’ residents be housed during this period of rural regeneration.
    In some of the now empty hotels dotting the south coast?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Cuhdear does a fine job in converting the numbers to BDS or US. What appears to be ridiculously generous numbers are seen to be small amounts of money.
    Does the government has the money required to finance these projects?

    I like the big ideas and the fancy phrases, but my question is a simple one.. Does government has the money?

    Any monies derived from tourism has been greatly reduced. There has been no substitute for this shortfall. It must be fun writing a check for the GOB to cash.

    Let me display my foolery… I am wondering if quantitative easing means the same thing for us as it does for a developed country. We like to pepper our discourses with phrases borrowed from elsewhere.

    Two men dreaming of driving a Ferrari. For the poor man it is just a dream; the rich man picks up his car keys ….

    Like

  • I too believe that Greater Bridgetown needs the hovels pushed down and rebuilt. I have to shut my eyes whenever I step off Broad Street.

    Like

  • Where does govt find money to bail out the Tourism industry
    Today Persaud says that govt has set aside million 2million to bail out the industry
    Where is that money coming from
    Meanwhile those unemployed have to make a decision whether to take the severance and lose their jobs or just put the severance on hold and return to work
    In meanwhile these big belly hogs who ate out of govt troff for years have no shame in seeking govt welfare

    Like

  • On this, the 19th anniversary of 9/11, I actually listened to the entire video, plus a few related others I found.
    What a complete embarrassment. I believe a bunch of first formers could produce a more enlightened exchange. And elsewhere, some are wondering aloud, how come politics isn’t attracting a higher caliber of person.
    Imagine we have a former chair of the TB, telling fellow citizens, that in 2016/17 the reason he had to travel so much and incur such related expenses, is because the TB did NOT HAVE a CREDIT CARD. All a bad joke.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Northern Observer

    Exactly, and was he the best person to be procuring parts?

    A bad joke. No doubt a member of the St. Philip cabal.

    Like

  • @ NorthernObserver

    What I found very interesting is former chairman Wiltshire saying it was much cheaper to source equipment from ‘overseas’ than purchasing them locally. He made reference to a piece of equipment costing $300 as opposed to it being sold here for $2,800. So, Mr. Wiltshire travelled to Miami to purchase equipment and subsequently submitted an invoice to be reimbursed for per diem, airfare, car rental and hotel accommodation.

    I’m also amazed TB’s management was making decisions in the absence of several years financial statements. Perhaps they were using bank reconciliations to determine the bank balance. I suspect those outstanding financial statement may be a bit difficult to prepare.

    I noticed Wiltshire was shifting blame from the board and general manager, to the financial controller.

    Liked by 1 person

  • So….. the minutes are missing. Why not ask some of the other board members to fill in the gaps? The minutes are missing for a reason. Are we serious or what?

    Did the ayes have it or was it a one man show?

    I could answer that for them but legally it would be hearsay. Not from any grapevine though.

    Like

  • David,

    Just to keep you on the right path – every Philipian doth not a cabal member make.

    Like

  • I just want to know the financing is in place for these developments. It may be a little more difficult than putting it on a credit card.

    Would be interesting to see the fees/taxes/what else can move an item from 300 to 2800.

    Would be interesting to see if there was a saving after the expenses mentioned.

    Fuzzy accounting.

    Like

  • @Donna

    A general comment.

    @Artax

    You heard former GM Sandra Forde made mention of the length of time it usually took for Chairman Wiltshire to submit an expense claim. Things to make you go hmmm.

    >

    Like

  • @ Miller September 11, 2020 8:19 AM

    It will not be enough just to bomb out some slums. We must demolish ALL of Bridgetown except the Parliament building. The city is crumbling and totally rotten. Everywhere dirty buildings and beggars. For foreigners it looks like an African or Asian city of third rank in the province. Of course our natives don’t notice it because they always live on the island and are therefore used to garbage and decay.

    Our leader Mia Mottley should finally make use of her unlimited powers and implement the following plan: Evacuation of the locals from Bridgetown to the hinterland, demolition of all buildings except Parliament, establishment of 5 gated communities for expats, diplomats and businessmen named after the Honourable Maloney, Lord Kyfinn, Sir COW, Ph.D. h.c. Bizzy and Sir Harris. Relocation of the capital to Warrens.

    Bridgetown is a shattered landscape of postcolonialism from old Barrow’s Pandora’s box. Therefore it is only logical to destroy this legacy of Barrow as well.

    Like

  • @ Cuhdear Bajan September 10, 2020 9:27 PM

    Large Guyana can easily afford such gifts to the population thanks to the new oil wealth. The economic growth in El Dorado is expected to be 51% this year.

    And what is Barbados doing? We have had ZERO growth since 2008. We now have more civil servants, welfare recipients, unemployed and other lazzybones than workers and business people in the private sector. A toxic mix. If there is no vaccine next year, we are heading for a civil war.

    That is why we need a pre-emptive strike. Time for our great leader to act and declare war on the civil service, the unions and the welfare state. She has unlimited power to enforce all emergency measures to protect the people and the nation.

    Like

  • @Artax
    Rather odd you think?
    I recall the term used by others is ‘circle jerk’.

    Like

  • “Some people would be better off not using Google because then they would at least be honest about their ignorance.”

    I had a good friend, Harvard educated, who would call people idiots. His victims ran the full range of the education spectrum. He was my friend, so I never told him that (to me) there was not an appreciable difference between him and his victims.

    Something I always tell my son “People are not as foolish as you think they are. You are not as smart as you think you are”.

    So far, I have not seen evidence to separate you two from the herd. You try to BS your way to an elevated status, but the evidence does not support it.

    Occasionally, there is an excellent post, but then you falter and rejoins the pack.
    _———xx———-

    Like

  • Was wondering if Gov’t entities e.g. Transport Board paid Customs duties etc. and even if it did couldn’t the TB order the $300.00 part from the source and have it shipped to Bim? I’m sure that the costs wouldn’t amount to what it paid for the Chair to fly to Miami, hotel stay, per diem and associated costs.

    Tony Wiltshire is not looking good on these trips, today COVID19 has curtailed a lot of unnecessary travel by Gov’t Ministers and other bureaucrats, look for the floodgates to reopen once it has been controlled.

    Like

  • @Tron September 11, 2020 8:50 PM “Of course our natives don’t notice it because they always live on the island and are therefore used to garbage and decay…establishment of 5 gated communities for expats, diplomats and businessmen.”

    But isn’t it the “lazy bone native civil servants” and “lazybone natives” in general who do ALL of the cleaning around here?

    Who is going to do the cleaning if the “lazybone natives” are expelled to the “hinterland”

    I don’t recall ever seeing ANY expats, diplomats, and businessmen do any cleaning, EVEN OF THEIR HOMES, which would be complete rat’s nests if the “lazy bone natives” did not show up.. Maybe if expats, diplomats and businessmen cleaned up after themselves our beautiful historic city would not be so dirty?

    i saw some cleaning being done at bus stops yesterday, no doubt in preparation of OUR CHILDREN returning to school. All of the people doing the cleaning were YOUNG BLACK MEN. Not a single expat, diplomat or businessman showed up for this national duty.

    NOT A SINGLE ONE.

    Like

  • @ Sargeant September 12, 2020 12:48 PM

    He could have smuggled the parts through the Barbadian customs. But this is only a guess.

    In any case, you shouldn’t be surprised that he used his own credit card. The local banks are not allowed to issue cards to bankrupt companies.

    Like

  • For Hants

    Let us see how it looks in BDS

    President announces $239. BDS for each household in COVID relief

    A $143. cash grant for school children from January 2020 was announced along with a doubling of the uniform school voucher allowance to $38. BDS per child.

    Two weeks of a tax-free bonus has been announced for the Joint Services and for health workers. $1,434,314. BDS has also been set aside for front line health workers. The pension is to be raised to $239. per month from January 2020. The current figure is $191.BDS.

    Government will set aside some $47,812,972 million for the struggling sugar industry which will go directly to GuySuCo to reopen the closed sugar estates, create jobs and economically rejuvenate the suffering communities.

    Like

  • @Artax September 10, 2020 7:09 PM “Certain people are at the helm of spreading propaganda about the new buses.”

    Since Covid I don’t “mix-up” much anymore, but I had a couple of errands to run on Thursday and Friday, and I took the new buses both days. Nice, nice, nice. As soon as I boarded a young black Bajan gentleman offered me his seat. Still a lot of them round. Of course having grey hair really helps a lot with things like these. I loved the AC since the temperature these days is about 32C. Every single single person on board was wearing their masks properly. Lovely ride, excellent driver, well behaved respectful passengers. Nice clean air conditioned bus. What’s not to love?

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ David BU

    Yes, heard her ‘testimony.’ Did you watch the video of Mr. Wiltshire’s first ‘testimony?’

    It is interesting to note Wiltshire did a lot of traveling, as chairman, on behalf of TB. He mentioned having traveled to Brazil in 2017, with the Trini consultant Bartholomew and manager of stores, Challenor, to source bus parts and transmissions. He also traveled to Trinidad in 2014, with TB’s quality assurance manager.

    Why would the chairman of TB travel overseas to source bus parts, transmissions, engines and even furniture, when there are people employed by TB that could have undertaken those tasks?

    Another interesting development was when Wiltshire said he disagreed with the Auditor’s General Special Audit Report and challenged the auditors on the figures therein. An auditor present at the ‘hearing,’ said they used invoices and other information from TB to arrive at the figures quoted.

    Wiltshire said TB imported transmissions at a cost of $7,800, including CIF. At a board meeting, Financial Controller Sue told them the transmissions cost $23,000. She never provided any documents to substantiate her claim, but said she ‘was sticking to her figures.’ Wiltshire also accused Sue of giving the Nation Newspaper, false details pertaining to the Trini consultant’s salary, which was quoted as $23,000 per month. According to Wiltshire, the salary was $13,000. When asked by Sandra Husbands how he knew it was Sue who leaked the information, especially when there wasn’t anything in the article to suggest it was her, Wiltshire said it had to be Sue, because she admitted to him she leaked information to the press on previous occasions.

    As NorthernObserver mentioned, ‘it’s rather odd.”

    David BU, perhaps you could add the YouTube video of Ms. Sue’s ‘testimony’ to this “A PAC Affair” article. I’m sure would be interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ Artax September 12, 2020 10:59 PM

    No normal person operates the buses as long as Barbados. In Europe, the average usage time of a bus is 10 to 15 years at most. I assume that the diesel buses still in use in Barbados are much older. The models are so old, I guess Barrow bought them used in Tanzania in the 1970s.

    It is clear that spare parts for such old buses are very expensive and difficult to obtain. Normally, spare parts for such old buses as in Barbados are only available from the museum

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Artax

    It seems Wiltshire was operating under the direct instruction of then minister Michael Lashley. It is timely to remind readers there was a relationship that existed between Denis Lowe and Michael Lashley – both were leasing luxury vehicles from Trans-Tec a supplier of services to the Transport Board. The current CEO indicated to the PAC this relationship was discontinued.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I am urgently in need of some help. I am trying to get my head around the idea that a man who is chairman of a statutory body, realising that parts were needed for some of the body’s vehicles, got an a plane, flew to Miami and bought the parts with his personal credit card, and on his return put in for expenses.
    Can someone tell me this is not true? When I say our national problem is incompetence (not paper qualifications), some people think I am being rude to the country of my birth. What further proof do we need?

    Liked by 1 person

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