Adrian Loveridge Column – We Undervalue Contributions by Sector Players

Just a week away from celebrating our 54th year of independence and probably the very last year that any citizen will be recognized for their outstanding national contribution locally, by being granted (Order of Barbados) Knight (KA) or Dame (DA) status, after Government has decided to remove Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and presumably her representative here.

Considering the massive transformational effect tourism has made in the development of the country over the last five decades, some may find it surprising that not a single person within the industry, over that period, has been sufficiently identified and chosen to receive the highest honour, unlike in some other neighbouring islands.

Perhaps it reflects the often expressed general cynicism directed at the sector, that each and every hotelier is a money grabbing, subsidy opportunist, extracting limitless concessions and who expects Government to constantly bail them out, even when even tiniest challenge is put in their way.

While this may be vaguely true for a tiny number of chosen few, as a former small hotelier, operating for over 25 years, I can tell you that perception is so far from reality that it bears absolutely no actual creditability at all, for the vast majority of us.

I graphically recall our very first attempt to bring in ‘duty-free’ a special paint for extreme salt spray exposed surfaces. The duties and charges levied locally were more than twice the cost of the goods and shipping. Despite that, we paid the taxes in full, only to discover when collecting the paint from a ‘secure’ customs bond, that more than a third of the product had been stolen. When then asking if we could amend our duty payment to the revised amount of goods received, we were told NO and that we had to apply for a refund which in the words of the then comptroller, could take up to between one and two years.

After, that early experience, we virtually gave up on even going through the motions of attempting to buy ‘duty-free’ items for the hotel, as the barrage of obstacles placed in our way, were just too tedious and mentally overpowering to surmount.

Returning to the point of this column, I hope that one day that some of the very many dedicated professionals, at every level, will be recognised for their tireless efforts, once again.  Not limited to only those promoting Barbados tourism, but fully embracing everyone who provides personal service delivery, to each and every guest.

As and when the pandemic issue is resolved, it is going to be even more critical to the sector’s recovery that ‘we’ provide the very best welcome to both returning and first time visitors. As a country, when we continually fail to value the selfless contribution made by so many, we are losing track and the purpose of what makes tourism and a destination successful.



35 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – We Undervalue Contributions by Sector Players

  1. Today’s Nation Editorial. The same Nation that stop Caswell’s column when he was appointed Senator.

    Not silencing anyone
    LAST WEEK, some disgruntled former workers protested, as was their right, against the long delay and turnaround encountered in getting outstanding money due them.
    These developments were highlighted by both the traditional media and the social media platforms, with instant engagement locally and overseas.
    This has changed the way the news is shared and has also stopped the unethical practice by some media outlets of “killing a story” which does not sit well with some special interest groups. Manipulating the media to support or oppose a cause is nothing new.
    The media has a sacred duty to cover the news regardless to who is offended, whether it is developments in the West Bank, exposing the blatant racism being experienced by black people in Brazil, the injustices inflicted on native people in Australia, the tragedy of the “stolen babies” in Kenya, or the workers’ plight in Barbados.
    When the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) was established in 1941, the powers of the day did not want it highlighted. Its emergence and subsequent public face was a nuisance to the rich and powerful.
    Workers understand this approach, which is why those at Cin Cin and associated restaurants who were left out in the cold in March, turned to the media to let the public know of their plight, as did
    those in recent weeks at The Club, both on the West Coast.
    When the BWU wants to highlight problems it has with some employers, it relies on the media in its messaging, whether it is a national march against the Government or to call out recalcitrant owners. The same method is employed by all the other trade unions.
    The media is not here for the privileged or any special interest, but is a voice for the voiceless and to highlight the salient issues regardless of who feels uncomfortable in Barbados or overseas.
    News organisations play a critical role in exposing, informing and enlightening the public about what is taking place in the global village. This is particularly important here where the Government has virtually total control of the elected legislature of which the general secretary of the BWU, Toni Moore, is now a member.
    Responsible business
    If there is a dissenting voice, then it must be heard, as is the case with the Unity Workers’ Union (UWU) led by Senator Caswell Franklyn, who has criticised the Government, the BWU, the media and others. We will not support any suggestions, arcane or otherwise, to silence or sideline the UWU because of its approach, which may be non-conformist.
    We are a responsible business and will not engage in the undermining of trust in any institution,
    whether it be the trade union movement, Government or the media. The tenets of journalism we practise are guided by fairness and probity, and bringing transparency to issues and events which should result in greater clarity.
    We serve to make Barbados, our homeland, a better place.
    If there is a dissenting voice, then it must be heard, as is the case with the
    Unity Workers’ Union led by Senator Caswell Franklyn

  2. Harry Russell’s column.

    Hotel industry has way to go
    WITH A HEAVY HEART and a cold glass of mauby, I sit outside in my verandah and watch the planes descend on Barbados. Depending on the number and size of the planes, I get a good idea of how many tourists are coming to Barbados. I can also see the cruise liners as they pass by. Recently the number of planes and ships is increasing as the skies light up. However, we still have a long way to go.
    That said, I am wondering what I would do if I owned a hotel in Barbados. First of all, I cannot support those who are bemoaning the reluctance of investors to start building more hotels when the future of the hotel industry is so uncertain.
    Perhaps this may change, depending on the success of a possible vaccine. Then I wonder what is the balance sheet status of the hotels in Barbados, both local and foreign. I wonder because I am not sure that hotels have recovered from the cash flow debacle with overseas companies dating back to April 2020.
    This problem when big booking agents went bankrupt must have negatively affected the local hotels’ reliance on banking arrangements and left them catspraddled, as guests have enjoyed a vacation for which they have not paid locally.
    This being the case, I have always felt that the concepts enunciated in the BEST (Barbados Employment And Sustainable Transformation) programme would be difficult to find takers. I have reservations about its implementation, especially with respect to foreign hotels. Reduces net equity
    What are the real benefits of the grants from Government? The hotels would have had to rely on the banks to fill the breach left by the overseas agents not being able to pay. More reliance on the banks reduces the net equity of the owner.
    BEST’s requirement of the hotel owner to give up even more equity on a monthly basis for two years in the form of preferential shares in exchange for wages support would further lessen the net equity of the hotel owner. I pointed this out in a
    previous article – Shares Misgivings
    (October 10, 2020). Even if the preferential shares have real monetary meaning, unlike those in the sale of Four Seasons.
    The idea suggested by BEST of financing 80 per cent of wages for two years when hotel occupancy may be deficient in order to retain experienced staff and provide work has merit as one cannot train a chef, a waiter, a housekeeper or a gardener overnight. Planning in the dark
    However, the idea of relinquishing further equity to Government is such an uncertain consideration, especially when you do not know if it can be redeemed later if called upon. It is planning in the dark.
    In any case, you need to consider current arrangements with any creditors that might preclude negotiating with BEST – for example an outstanding debenture.
    There is a clause in the proposal that might cause a hotel to hesitate. “The company’s owners and shareholders cannot withdraw any dividends from the company until the BEST shares have been fully redeemed or repurchased, the definition of dividends will include any fees and levies paid to related parties.” So it is just survival in the dark!
    There is disquiet in the stipulation: “If a company has not paid the coupon on its BEST shares in any two years out of four in which there was a coupon, the holder of BEST shares will be entitled to convert their BEST shares into the ordinary voting share of the company.”
    Furthermore a statement that, “In return for this commitment from workers and companies, the Government will undertake the biggest economic recovery package in the nation’s history,” has no real meaning now. Solutions
    I believe many hotels are trying to find alternative solutions rather than accept the offer to give up preferential shares.
    Even so, BEST preferential shares – even applicable after two years – have
    first access to any profits that a struggling hotel may make, profits that the hotel may wish to plough back into the business. In any case, requiring the foreign-owned hotels like Sandals or Sandy Lane to give Government preferential shares seem far-fetched and spoiling for a fight.
    What may be troubling are efforts by some entities to bypass severance payment arrangements instead of giving consideration to BEST. This is made even more troubling by Government’s response recently. It strengthens the argument that BEST may not be the answer.
    Workers are aware that reliance on our National Insurance at this stage may not answer their needs now in a timely fashion.

    Harry Russell is a banker. Email

  3. Mr. Russell one of the “ insignificant” candidates the NDP ran is too kind. The truth is that the throne speech , gave the impression that this policy was another brilliant stroke. The reality is that the PM , is now learning that fancy acronyms are not all that is needed.
    @ Adrian
    Sorry to tell you that the small business people suffer the same fate. It’s not exclusive to the hoteliers. All the small black players have been systematically forced out of the industry .From the beach vendors to the small car rentals to the small apartment owners.
    I know. I was there . At least when the hoteliers start to complain $300 million dollars , in the midst of a debilitating pandemic, when a half dozen tourists coming through GAIA, is found for them. When the players don’t pay the workers severance , we foot the bill. When they refuse to pay in collected NIS contributions, we still have to look after those workers. That kind of money has never been thrown at small black business people .

  4. @ Carson

    You are right. Trends change. Sometime in the near future British tourists will be going to Mauritius, or Seychelles or staying at home. Do you remember in the 1960s when a high proportion of our tourists were French Canadians? Where are they now? I am sure they still go on holiday. Only 20 per cent of Americans have passports. If they want sunshine or snow they can find it at home.
    Long haul tourism is a luxury and it depends on the cost of travel. Climate change and environment politics – and CoVid – tells us that that too will change.
    Apart from sun, sea and smiles (sometimes), Barbados has nothing to offer tourists. We can no longer even offer cricket.

  5. @ David November 23, 2020 5:09 AM

    It is a total scandal what wide space is given to the outspoken senator in the media. Didn’t he sabotage the anti-corruption law?

    What we need are politicians with integrity. Like our Supreme Leader and Most Honourable Prime Minister, for example.

    • @Tron

      You will never get this blogmaster to type a word in anger against the goodly Senator. Truth be told we need 10 more like him.

  6. David, I could have easily listed 5 individuals, who in my personal experience would qualify for consideration, but as a non-national, related to previous slave imports (1685), did not feel that I had any right to.

  7. @ David BU

    What are the criteria for National Honours ? Do we not work and invest in careers and businesses to actualise our dreams and earn a living? We all have to do this. Do we engage in businesses to get a National award? Ask not what our country does for us ; but what we do for our country. Providing jobs and making tourists happy are rewards enough.
    I will not stress my memory but many national honours were given for those who worked directly and indirectly in the Tourism Industry.

    • @Vincent

      Agree with your position in principle. However if there is a process for giving national honours why should the tourism sector be excluded as per Adrian’s comment?

  8. Are we ever going to get a column thar is more than a lament?????

    So… you encounter unfair hurdles, get stuff stolen at the port and are not recognized by National Honours.

    Boo hoo!

    Welcome to The Club! That is the club most of us locals have no problem getting into. Just like Hotel California – we can check in any time we like but we can never leave!

    (Insert wailing guitar solo here.)

  9. Still think the blogmaster has a solid point at 8:17 a.m and I can understand Adrian reluctance to call names.

    But this appears to be a part of the national makeup. A reluctance to call names, whether it be for good or bad.

    It would be interesting ser how
    his list would be received. Would it have a better, the same or a worse reception than a list from An overseas Bajans

    Enjoy the day

  10. @ David BU at 9 : 49 AM
    Is it really true that no national honours have been given to those who worked directly and indirectly in the Tourism Industry?
    There is a process. Every year a notice is posted in the Press asking for nominations for National Awards. A select committee reviews these nominations and make a short list for final decision. Any person can make submissions,but the candidates must satisfy the criteria that are predetermined.

  11. @ David BU at 10 :19 AM
    Are not all decisions, in a manner of speaking, subjective?… a matter of judgement/ discretion?. We are human ; not machines.

    • @Vincent

      In a generic sense yes but a good criteria can be agreed between stakeholders to ensure a decision can stand the smell test.(scrutiny).

  12. It is unfortunate that so much attention is being paid to the Tourism Industry. The Govt. is to invest $300million in Tourism when they are other areas of the economy are crying out for help and being ignored.

    For example more money needs to be planted in Agriculture. The former Chief Agriculturist says the sector is in shambles. Yet we pretend to cry crocodile tears over our high food import bill. We are busy supporting the Agricultural sector of other Nations.

  13. @ David BU

    That is worse than asking a participant in a hundred metre dash to be a judge in his own race.

  14. @Donna
    Please. While not yet a rule, kindly only reference local musical lyrics or melodies. You may apply to @David for a meritorious exception, as granted to @Hants, and his postings related to the Dutch songstress.
    Otherwise your reference is so accurate it hurts. It certainly applies to FDI.

  15. NO,

    Sorry. When it comes to music, poetry, novels and comedy, I do not restrict myself. There is too much good stuff out there.

  16. Look you may be losing awards from Queen Elizabeth, but you can no get the ALBA awards if you make application through Ralph Gonsalves.

    Does this mean you are leaving the Commonwealth? Will this close the door on any UK aid or assistance?

  17. What the Leading COVID Vaccine Contenders Still Need to Tell the Public
    Given how much we don’t yet know, it’s unclear why those of us asking for more information about the leading COVID vaccines are being marginalised. We’re simply exercising our right to informed consent.

    By Rob Verkerk Ph.D

    When everyone’s trying to pick potential winners of the global race to produce COVID vaccines, spare a thought for those of us who are the guinea pigs. We, the public, as well as concerned doctors and other health professionals, need to be crystal clear about what information we need to give consent — assuming vaccine rollout is not made mandatory in your country or state.

    This is a bigger ask than it might be if we had functioning democracies. But in most countries that have enjoyed democratic governance in recent years, emergency measures granted by the World Health Organization’s characterisation of COVID-19 as a “pandemic” on Mar. 11, 2020, has seen democracy widely substituted by coercion and authoritarian rule.

    Not only that, those who ask questions about vaccines have been marginalised as conspiracy theorists. A large international survey with over 13,000 people in 19 countries published in Nature Medicine found that 71% of those surveyed would agree to vaccination if it “was proven safe and effective” (but who adjudicates)?

    The highest acceptance rate (88%) was found in China and the lowest in Russia (55%). The same study found that acceptance was strongly correlated to trust in governments — another reminder that governments who have not managed to win the trust of their people must shoulder some responsibility for lack of vaccine confidence.


  18. COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Widespread, Even Among Medical Professionals
    Public health groups, including the World Health Organization, are making a concerted effort to reduce COVID vaccine hesitancy, as many medical professionals and minority groups remain doubtful about safety and efficacy.

    By Jeremy Loffredo

    Surveys reveal vaccine hesitancy

    Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles’ Karin Fielding School of Public Health surveyed healthcare personnel working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As the Washington Post reported, they found that two thirds (66.5%) of healthcare workers “intend to delay vaccination,” meaning they do not intend to get the COVID vaccine when it becomes available. They plan instead on reviewing the data once it’s widely administered and proven safe.

    Seventy-six percent of the vaccine-hesitant healthcare workers cited the “fast-tracked vaccine development” as a primary reason for their concerns. Typically, vaccines take between eight to 10 years to develop, Dr. Emily Erbelding, an infectious disease expert at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in an article titled, “The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that’s risky.”

    The coronavirus vaccine frontrunners — Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca — are expected to make their debut in January. The pharmaceutical giants have exponentially accelerated the average safety and review timeline for vaccine development and production, to get the vaccines to market in under a year. Erbelding admitted that the accelerated pace will involve “not looking at all the data.”

  19. Limited LIAT flights from Monday
    ST JOHN’S – The Antigua and Barbuda-based regional carrier, LIAT, will begin its commercial schedule on Monday with flights operating to a limited number of destinations.
    The airline will operate flights five days a week to seven destinations across the LIAT network.
    The seven destinations are – Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
    The airline says the limited schedule of flights will return connectivity to the destinations which were impacted by the airline’s suspension of commercial services.
    LIAT will announce shortly the addition of other
    destinations to the schedule for December 2020.
    According to officials, the airline has completed all the training and regulatory requirements for the territories.
    In addition, several new procedures have been implemented to ensure the safety of staff and passengers as well as reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
    These include the mandatory wearing of masks at check-in and onboard, enhancement in its cleaning and sanitisation protocols and new boarding procedures.
    The airline, which is being restructured, says passengers will be able to book flights via the LIAT website. It has also published its policy for people who want to utilise their credits to book flights. (CMC)

  20. Has tourism done what Grantley Adams envisioned it would do? Has tourism profited the government of Barbados or has government’s insistence on subsidizing the industry lead to an unprofitable industry for the country? Have the negative effects of tourism outweighed the positives? What is our tourism leakage rate and why is it never mentioned by our tourism “experts”? The answer to these and many other questions would dictate my awarding persons in tourism. I do not want a situation where people are awarded for poor performance or just because they may be popular talkers and not really impacting positively on the industry.

    Virgin Atlantic exec: Expect winter boom when lockdown ends
    By Shawn Cumberbatch
    Barbados should get ready for a “huge” travel boost after main tourist market the United Kingdom (UK) ends its COVID-19-enforced national lockdown on Wednesday.
    Virgin Atlantic’s new country manager, Caribbean, Hannah Swift, has given that upbeat forecast for the winter season, which starts in about two weeks amid continuing uncertainty for international travel.
    Barbados started welcoming commercial flights again from July 1. However, based on Central Bank information, the industry has been hit hard, with inflows from travel services plummeting by $963.5 million at the end of September, when compared to the same period last year.
    While noting that it would “take sometime before the [COVID-19] vaccine is safely rolled out and life returns to normal”, the airline executive told the Sunday Sun there were growing signs British nationals were keen to vacation here as usual this winter.
    “We know that there is pent up demand for travel and we look forward to welcoming customers safely back on board, heading off on holiday or travelling to visit their loved ones,” she said.
    Virgin Atlantic restarted flying to Barbados from London Heathrow on August 1.
    However, following a surge in COVID-19 cases, the UK government announced that between November 5 and December 2, “travelling away from home, including internationally, is restricted from England except in limited circumstances such as for work or for education”.
    Swift said the good news for Barbados and its neighbours was that “once restrictions in the UK are lifted, we are anticipating particular demand for the Caribbean”.
    “We’re currently flying to Barbados, Antigua, Jamaica and Grenada and expect to restart Tobago in the upcoming months and also look forward to launching a new service to St Vincent next year.”
    “We have seen huge demand for Barbados and all our Caribbean destinations. We are seeing that once the UK exits lockdown there is demand for our winter Caribbean destinations.”
    Barbados based
    Based in Barbados, Swift is responsible for Virgin Atlantic’s daily commercial activity in the region, including sales, marketing, reservations and ticketing.
    She noted that “despite the pent up demand we see, for many customers booking travel now is only viable with flexibility”.
    “We recognise that and, as a result, offer up to two changes and one name change without a fee, to rebook until December 31, 2022. Supporting customers faced with unexpected and late changes to their plans or ability to travel,” Swift said.
    “Our customers told us they were concerned about changing travel corridor destinations and increasing uncertainty in travel options. We listened and announced . . . a guaranteed UK quarantine-free holiday in the Caribbean where we sort the details and confirm travel details 14 days before travel.”
    She said recent announcements about COVID-19 vaccines were positive, and called the Caribbean “an extremely exciting opportunity for us”.
    “With many islands implementing rigorous COVID-19 protocols including testing before arrival and a short quarantine period for visitors, the islands are open for tourism and are a haven for travellers in search of sun,” Swift noted.
    Pelican Village came alive yesterday during the inaugural Pelican Independence Arts & Craft Festival.
    The event, which was organised by the Pelican Tenants Association (PeTA), was held to generate more interest in the craft centre, which has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since March.
    During the opening ceremony, the Tuk Band and Mother Sally got the party started as officials toured the various shops.
    This display was followed by an arts and crafts workshop, a Bajan lunch extravaganza, a Bajan games showcase,
    a reggae and spoken word segment and a concert with the Mighty Gabby and Soul Lion.

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