Regional Transportation a Bane

For as long as BU has been around there has been concern expressed about the shamble state of travel in the region. The HoGs are quick to remind us CARICOM/CSME is contingent on free movement of people. To be fair, some progress has been made by amending entry requirements to allow citizens from member states to visit for leisure and work, however, facilitating physical movement whether by air or sea remains a hindrance. The financial weight and mismanagement of LIAT finally caused it to crash. Today the region is without a viable and dependable means of regional transport for people and cargo.

It was interesting to listen to Minister of Tourism uttering words this week about a “high-level- vision for Barbados’ tourism sector with special mention the role of aviation. There is talk about creating a Barbados Aviation Centre of Excellence leading to Barbados being a cargo hub along with repair maintenance and other related activities. The eye opener was when she mentioned of a vision to establish a regional carrier using Singapore Airlines as a model. It goes without saying Barbados will have to push to acquire CAT 1 designation, something BU has posted on for many years. Without CAT 1 designation an airline based in Barbados would not be able to acquire permissions to land in US and other key countries important to flying important air routes. 

The blogmaster agrees conceptually Barbados and regional governments must do a better job to smooth the environment to encourage transportation solutions from private sector. With the demise of LIAT it has brought the matter to a head and there must be a sense of urgency IF the HoGs are committed to a working common market. Maybe the leadership of CARICOM lacks the vision to mirror the OECS who has demonstrated the benefits of a working union. It is ironic the OECS are members of umbrella group CARICOM. The attraction of being a big fish in a small pond continues to feed the megalomania of leaders in the region.

In the OECS ferry services have been used as a transportation option for years. Why has the region been unable to enhance the model to include other countries with a view to create a viable sea transportation option? It is 2022 and what can be honestly stated about the state of regional travel?

Here is a perspective from BU family member Artax:

After the demise of the ‘Windward,’ which used to sail between BGI and SLU…… BGI and SVG, ‘every other week,’ there has been several discussions about a ferry service that would include other regional territories.

In 2018, the World Bank recommended a ferry service that would transport people, vehicles and goods from North to the South of the Caribbean, after completing a preliminary study.
The Bank was also recommended private sector participation be sought in developing the ferry service.

In August 2016, the Daily Nation reported ,that a company registered in Barbados called, ‘Caribbean Ferry Service,’ was in the process of finalising paperwork to operate two vessels, ‘The Dream Jet Express’ and ‘The Opal Jet Express,’ for travel and cargo through the region,
The service was supposed to be initially accessible to passengers from BGI, SVG and SLU. And, eventually, other islands would’ve been added to the itinerary.

I can understand ferry services between Antigua and Montserrat; St. Lucia and Martinique; St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius; Dominica and Guadeloupe…… because those islands are in close proximity to each other.

However, I question the viability of operating a service between Barbados and Anguilla, for example. Or, from Trinidad to Jamaica.

Artax

29 comments

  • Negotiations begin on fast ferry service but won’t be reality for about two years

    Article by Marlon Madden
    Published on
    June 22, 2022

    Barbados and some of its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) neighbours could be inching closer to having a fast ferry system that would see faster and more affordable transportation of cargo and people and help put a dent in the region’s food import bill.

    However, the initial investment is estimated to be a major one – in the region of about US$100 million (BDS$200 million) – and the plan could take close to two years to materialise.

    Chairman of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy Professor Avinash Persaud told Barbados TODAY that officials were making headway with plans for a new ferry service.

    “We are currently in negotiations with some potential private partners who will deliver that if governments provide some support, but it is early days yet,” he disclosed.

    Persaud explained that the discussions included examining the possibility of two specially-built vessels.

    One passenger vessel would be similar to the one that operates between Port of Spain and Tobago, while the other would be a smaller one to transport cargo.

    In April last year, Trinidad and Tobago welcomed a new passenger fast ferry, Buccoo Reef, with a capacity for 1 000 persons. The price tag on that vessel, which was built in Tasmania, Australia, was US$72.9 million. The twin-island republic has other cargo and passenger vessels.

    “They are really big boats. They cost US$75 million and we also need a secondary boat that is more cargo-focused. So, to make a smoother ride for passengers and a fast ride for cargo, you are probably spending out US$100 million,” said Persaud.

    Even after governments agree to the new service, vessels would have to be built, and regulatory and other issues would have to be ironed out to ensure smooth operation between countries.

    “So, people are putting proposals to us. Even let’s say we like one of these proposals and go through a tender process, once we have decided that is an idea worth getting a tender over then it will take about 18 months to build the boat. So this is not happening around the corner, but it is a critical long-run to the food bill,” said Persaud.

    CARICOM states are aiming to reduce their collective US$6 billion agri-food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.

    Barbados alone has an annual food import bill of over $600 million, with fruits and vegetables accounting for roughly 10 per cent of that.

    The bill is expected to increase even further this year due to several issues, including the ongoing war in Ukraine and supply disruptions which are driving up costs.

    Noting that climate change was also a factor that was impacting costs, Persaud told Barbados TODAY that achieving food and nutrition security across the region was extremely critical.

    “To make sure that we have nutrition security and access to cheaper food, transport is actually one of the most important things,” he said.

    “Ultimately, we are too small to feed ourselves continuously. We can improve the amount of nutrition security we have but we can never get there completely. And it wouldn’t make sense when we are next door to Guyana and Suriname and part of the same region as Belize – three countries with tremendous agricultural potential that can always deliver food at a greater quantity and lower cost than we could. “So we need to be strategic and niche. But for the region, we need these other countries to be exporting food across the region and it requires transport,” he explained.

    Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced earlier this year that Bridgetown and Georgetown would be establishing a Barbados/Guyana food terminal, a mechanism that would enable swifter transportation of food produced in the region.

    For this, Guyana would serve as a main food production hub while Barbados would act as a hub to transport agricultural produce between the island and CARICOM member states.

    A part of the plan will include some seven acres of land in Lears, St Michael which will have a purpose-built facility to accommodate about 40 containers at a time, a reservoir holding 20 million gallons of water, and land for crop production.

    The Report of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy speaks to the freer movement of people and goods, with a recommendation for the speeding up of the movement of people and goods by facilitating a private sector-led initiative to establish a fast ferry network.

    It further recommended that the same ease of immigration for international cruise ship passengers should be applied to CARICOM residents moving on the fast ferry, and that CARICOM citizens from one state should be able to carry their vehicles on board with them and drive off at another member state for short stays.

    The report also suggested a fast dispute resolution mechanism to deal with situations where goods are not allowed to flow freely within the region or contentious levels of duties or charges are applied.
    marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

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  • Cummins suggests private-public sector partnership to create regional airline

    Article by Anesta Henry
    Published on
    June 21, 2022

    Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins has suggested that the Singapore Airlines model be emulated to create a regional carrier and that a private-public sector partnership be used to fund it.

    She said during Monday’s Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) first Visit Barbados Industry Forum at the Hilton Hotel, that, in the absence of a national carrier, as the island works on building out an aviation centre of excellence, a regional airline is needed that is able to service all Caribbean destinations and then extend its services throughout the globe.

    Cummins, who called for a “high-level” aviation industry, explained that Singapore Airlines began servicing two countries in Asia before eventually expanding its routes to international destinations.

    “They were able to launch a dedicated regional service called SilkAir, which built on the international brand which dominated the regional market.

    “The Caribbean needs new innovation and it needs new investment to be able to expand on its capability not just intra regionally, but I need us to think big,” the Tourism Minister said.

    She expressed concern about the blow to regional travel from the restructuring of LIAT two years ago, as she stressed the need for a public-private partnership solution to fill the void.

    “Certainly in the last two years, with the loss of LIAT, we have seen significant challenges in the region. I philosophically have a difficulty, and I have always had a difficulty, with the idea of travelling outside of my region in order to be able to travel within,” Cummins said.

    “We have also seen that other airlines have come to the table, they are all private sector led, but do they have the capacity as yet to fill the void left by regional carrier LIAT? We have Caribbean Airlines. What do we require as a region to carve a space out for ourselves in the aviation space?”

    LIAT was restructured in March 2020, resulting in employees being placed on the breadline and the airline’s services significantly reduced.

    “Is that time right now where the private sector and the public sector and academia can come together to create the aviation sector of the future?” Minister Cummins questioned, suggesting that such a solution would involve “private sector capitalisation, government injection of funds, regulatory management and transformation, and the development of an academic partnership with tertiary level institutions to create the skills and the job for the future”.

    As recently as Sunday, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced that he had a plan in mind for regional travel.

    Gonsalves, who served as chairman of LIAT’s stakeholder governments, did not disclose details of his plans. However, he said he faced opposition from regional stakeholders who are now calling for the revival of the airline, owned by his government, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and Dominica.

    Recently, regional entertainers took to social media to vent their frustration about the challenges they have been experiencing travelling throughout the region due to LIAT’s limited service. anestahenry@barbadostoday.bb

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  • David

    Centrally, this is a failure of the capitalist, “big” moguls classes in the region. Real capitalists solve these problems without government assistence every time. And without which development is not viable is the mantra, the business culture.

    Aided by the cowardice political-managerial elites within an era where space travel is passe the countries within might as well be as if Jupiter.

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  • The Bu is full to the brim of doom and gloom above and below the line, what a bummer man

    Astral Nidra 1: Astral Body Building & Your First Out Of Body Experience (OBE Guided Meditation)
    Use this guided meditation to learn how to build your astral body during yoga nidra, experience being out of your body comfortably, develop awareness to your multidimensional highest Self, and freely project your subtle body to any location in the astral dimension of your choice.

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  • @Pacha

    Yours maybe a simplistic assessment. These little countries in the region have regulations governing their waters/air space etc.

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  • David
    If money could have been made all those regulations would have been long harmonized.

    It is because they are no higher than average profits possible is why we have all kinds of borders. Political constructs.

    And why don’t we have a developed corporate culture inform by the desires of the region’s peoples?

    We answer – a backward mercantile class wrongly enabled.

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  • Maybe you are correct Pacha, who knows.

    Like

  • William Skinner

    @ Pacha
    We keep hearing these jokers talk about government and private ventures. It’s all nonsense. As you have correctly stated , when closely examined, we see the governments end up holding the bag and the taxpayers underwriting the failures.
    We note what has happened to the marijuana ventures. Let us see what happens to the energy ventures and then let us see what happens to the privatization of the sugar industry.
    Note how SAGICOR is positioning itself with the energy effort. Watch very carefully and you would note it’s the same old same old.
    Everything now said must be taken with a grain or pound of salt. Half truths and lies are the order of the day. Dazzling the gullible with BS is the norm.
    More to come
    Peace.

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  • “A ferry that sound like a LIAT at sea.”

    John A

    I was thinking similarly.

    Private sector participation in a ferry service may allow market forces to dictate fares…… unless regional governments subsidise operating costs.

    Eventually, we may have a situation similar to what occurred with LIAT and Allan Stanford’s Caribbean Star Airlines.
    Remember, Stanford introduced CSA and Caribbean Sun Airlines, both of which were in direct competition with LIAT.
    Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun advertised airfares that were significantly lower than what LIAT was offering, causing the airline to reduce fares to remain competitive.
    Obviously, the airline would have been operating ‘at a loss,’ which was more or less ‘camouflaged’ by shareholder governments’ subsides, loans, investments….. or whatever they choose to call it.
    Subsequently, in 2007, Caribbean Star and Sun merged with LIAT, with Stanford eventually transferring five (5) Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 aircraft to LIAT.
    This essentially meant taxpayers of LIAT shareholder governments were, as the saying goes, ‘left holding the bag.’

    We’ve been hearing talk about a regional ferry service, as far as I could remember, since the mid 1990s.
    And, we haven’t seen anything materialize thus far……. only more talk.

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  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    ” Watch very carefully and you would note it’s the same old same old.
    Everything now said must be taken with a grain or pound of salt. Half truths and lies are the order of the day. Dazzling the gullible with BS is the norm.
    More to come”

    102 years worth of lies and cover ups……more will take you to 202 YEARS,,,if the people allow it…

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  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    William…don’t mind them, their colonial masters don’t give a shit about them right about now, they are fair game instead of having the freedom to GAME AFRIKAN PEOPLE…into another 100 years of oppression and bondage..

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  • Even the highly conservative Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in an article by Alex Vershinin. The Return to Industrial War, demonstrates that the West is as weak as a spider’s web.

    More Putin deckie in their pedantic crotch.

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  • William…don’t mind them, their colonial masters don’t give a shit about them right about now, they are fair game instead of having the freedom to GAME AFRIKAN PEOPLE…into another 100 years of oppression and bondage..

    Xxxxxxx

    BLACK PEOPLE CAN’T DEPEND ON THEIR LEADERS WHETHER IN THE CARIBBEAN OR AFRICA WHO ARE ALL CORRUPT AND FIRST PRIORITY IS TO MAKE THEMSELVES WEALTHY.

    I HAVE MET MANY AFRICANS FROM CAMEROON, NIGERIA, SOMALIA, UGANDA ETC WHO FLED THEIR COUNTRY SEEKING ASYLUM IN THE USA. I HAVE LISTENED TO HORROR STORIES AFTER HORROR STORIES PERPETUATED BY THEIR BLACK LEADERS TO THE MASSES.

    WE LIVE IN A SICK AND DEPRAVED WORLD.

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  • Nothing but jokes
    Vincy says he got a plan for a new regional airline
    Now more long talk about a ferry
    Still awaiting the fishing agreement
    Bunch of jokers managing these small islands
    Mia tell he people Barbados gonna warehouse the food supplies coming out of Guyana whenever if ever
    But don’t tell the people the transportation cost it would take
    Bunch of jokers taking small island people fuh fools
    The IMF gives Barbados the green.light to borrow but Barbados doesn’t have a poo to pee in which can be used as collateral for the debt
    Govt says road repairs in st. Joseph to start next week and Straughn says the final agreement on the Chinese loan is July 1st
    Bunch of jokers in control of small island economies

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  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    It’s apparently become a disease with black leaders…they are drawn to not look after their people, they must be on
    a sell out stage at all times……a stain from the continent that has escalated around the fools with nonsense titles in the west…..because there is so much false status, fake elitism, and fake prestige as a barrier to seeing reality… they all end up the same way, check out Zuma, one of the best examples to date of the mental weakness that brings them down to their knees all the time……don’t even know why they bother….ya would think they are immune to it after all this time, but apparently it all still seems new to them, although none of it has ever or will ever impress me…

    .since the ones on the tiny isle are now exposed everywhere as the most dangerous, corrupt thieves who ever visited the earth….don’t know how they will ever shake off that hard fought for designation now following them around..

    this time is differentm we know what they have done……. and as they want others to think for them, during this chaos where everyone must STAND INDEPENDENT, not dependent, to survive, they will get exactly what they deserve……plus they are yeah DEEP IN DEBT that they created themselves…..so happy i don’t know these losers.

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  • The time loop or temporal loop is a plot device in fiction whereby characters re-experience a span of time which is repeated, sometimes more than once, with some hope of breaking out of the cycle of repetition.

    Time is the Master

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  • Taxpayers left “holding the bag” is all that will ever come of private/ public sector failed ventures. That is for sure!

    I’ll believe that regional transportation problems will be solved when it happens and not before.

    “Blah blah blah blah blah blah,” is all my brain registers.

    Like

  • @ angela cox June 23, 2022 5:14 PM

    Ac, why are you so desperately hard on your motley muttley-like administration?

    Isn’t it merely carrying on with the same projects your DLP administration put in the pipeline of the wacky races of dastardly consultancies and greasy palm kickbacks involving the abuse of taxpayers’ money?

    Why bother to sell Barbados to the Chinese when they could have accessed the US$ 270 million still lying idle in the bank which your man Stinkliar borrowed from the Japanese to revive the dying sugar industry; the same now dead industry which MAM is preparing form embalming?

    Do you really expect such an expensive ferry service could ever set sail in your lifetime when the Hyatt erection for a Lighthouse (with a similar sum of investment on the table) can’t even spot a moses in the Carlisle bay for the past 5 years?

    Here is the bet:
    The Four Season project will be resuscitated and those lovely villas now occupied by the monkeys will be (re)sold to rich Brits before Barbados gets a brand new Federal Maple-cum-Palm solar-panel-driven ‘ferry’ service under the consultancy of Persuadie.

    So on which outcome will you be placing your money?

    Heads you lose (your weave); tails Persaudie perseveres in bilking (financially screwing) the taxpayers of poor Bulbadus!

    Now where is that project implementation super guy called the fully-vaccinated-deal-making Malmoney when his patriotic investments are needed most?

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  • “The IMF gives Barbados the green.light to borrow but Barbados doesn’t have a poo to pee in which can be used as COLLATERAL for the debt…..”
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    🤣 😂 🤣 😂 🤣

    Nah….. too easy

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  • @ Miller
    “Why bother to sell Barbados to the Chinese when they could have accessed the US$ 270 million still lying idle in the bank which your man Stinkliar borrowed from the Japanese to revive the dying sugar industry; the same now dead industry which MAM is preparing form embalming?”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Surely you jest.
    That is a comment that Bushie would expect from Dribbles. But you (of all people) must know that the REASONS given for these various loans are just shiite talk designed to placate the yard fowls and Brass Bowls.
    The damn money is borrowed to keep the wheels of the duopoly turning …with salaries, allowances, consultants and trips.

    Do you think the IMF or Chinese would lend us a cent if they were told that the money was to fund free houses for squatters or to pay constituents to weed the gutters?

    This has been going on for YEARS.
    1 Apply for a large loan for something that SOUNDS useful (Climate Change / Road works, Alternative Energy…)
    2 Pass some to friends and insiders via ‘consultancies’ finders fees and contracts.
    3 Some shiite issue then delays the ‘project’ (Pier Head, Andrews, Four Seasons…) and everything goes quiet….
    4 Money disappears into the Consolidated (Black Hole) Fund.

    Next Phase – Apply for the same loan (with new name and location) and the process starts all over…

    The lenders know the game too. But they are waiting for bigger fish….

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  • Minister of Tourism and International Transport Senator Lisa Cummins has suggested that the Singapore Airlines model be emulated to create a regional carrier and that a private-public sector partnership be used to fund it.
    +++++++
    Here we go again Ms Cummins is supposed to be one of the “bright lights” in the Cabinet but yet seems to be bereft of original thinking, is she one of those people who believes that mentioning the word “Singapore” in any discussion automatically means that the idea has merit or can be adopted?

    Barbados is unlike Singapore, our history, people, culture, laws, religion is dissimilar to Singapore and history may prove me wrong but from this corner I believe that we will never be able to emulate the success that Singapore has achieved.

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  • I see very little difference between a Mia led government and that of of South Africa’s when led by Zuma. Why waste words to explain what is evident to all. Bush Tea’s above comments directed at Miller are a stripped down version of why Barbados has become a failed state. If a human being is carrying a parasite within their body it has to be expelled. If not, it will claim the life of that human.

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  • Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

    I see very little difference between a Mia led government and that of of South Africa’s when led by Zuma.

    You have no evidence of corruption with Mia but are tarring and feathering her and other black leaders with your ignorance like a repetitive retard petard

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  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    There are REAMS of paper evidence of MASSIVE CORRUPTION in both political parties….within the last 100 years, this did not start yesterday….they cannot escape or run and hide from it…

    “If a human being is carrying a parasite within their body it has to be expelled. If not, it will claim the life of that human.”

    they are all POSSESSED and carrying parasites of selloutism, criminality and curses..

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  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    TLSN…they are at the crossroads…interesting to see which direction they take, knowing them……

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  • Magnificent a.k.a Magno – Yu Heard Formula: C₂₁H₃₀O₂ IUPAC ID: (−)-(6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl- 3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydro- 6H-benzo[c]chromen-1-ol

    “REAMS of paper evidence of MASSIVE CORRUPTION in both political parties….within the last 100 years”

    Mathematics
    both parties were formed less than 100 years ago
    (but you still can say ‘within’ for smaller numbers)
    (eg “MASSIVE CORRUPTION in both political parties….within the last 1000 years”)

    Mathematics / Mos Def

    Bucka, bucka, bucka, bucka, bucka, bucka
    Ha ha
    You know the deal
    It’s just me, yo
    Beats by Su-Primo for all of my people, Negros and Latinos
    And even the gringos

    Yo, check it one for Charlie Hustle, two for Steady Rock
    Three for the forth-coming live future shock
    It’s five dimensions, six senses
    Seven firmaments of Heaven to Hell, eight million stories to tell
    Nine planets faithfully keep in orbit
    With the probable tenth, the universe expands length
    The body of my text posses extra strength
    Power-lift the powerless up, out of this, towering inferno
    My ink so hot it burn through the journal
    I’m blacker than midnight on Broadway and Myrtle
    Hip-hop past all your tall social hurdles
    Like the nationwide projects, prison-industry complex
    Working class poor better keep your alarm set
    Streets too loud to ever hear freedom ring
    Say evacuate your sleep, it’s dangerous to dream
    For ch-ching cats get they cha-paow, you dead now
    Killing fields need blood to graze the cash cow
    It’s a number game, but shit don’t add up somehow
    Like I got, sixteen to thirty-two bars to rock it
    But only fifteen percent of profits, ever see my pockets like
    Sixty-nine billion in the last twenty years
    Spent on national defense but folks still live in fear like
    Nearly half of America’s largest cities is one-quarter black
    That’s why they gave Ricky Ross all the crack
    Sixteen ounces to a pound, twenty more to a key
    A five minute sentence hearing and you no longer free
    Forty percent of Americans own a cell phone
    So they can hear, everything that you say when you ain’t home
    I guess, Michael Jackson was right, you are not alone
    Rock your hardhat black ’cause you in the Terrordome
    Full of hard niggas, large niggas, dice tumblers
    Young teens and prison greens facing life numbers
    Crack mothers, crack babies and AIDS patients
    Young bloods can’t spell but they could rock you at PlayStation
    This new math is whipping motherfuckers’ ass
    You wanna know how to rhyme you better learn how to add
    It’s mathematics

    Yo, it’s one universal law but two sides to every story
    Three strikes and you biddin’ for life, mandatory
    Four MC’s murdered in the last four years
    I ain’t trying to be the fifth one, the millennium is here
    Yo, it’s six million ways to die from the seven deadly thrills
    Eight-year olds getting found with 9 mill’s
    It’s ten P.M., where your seeds at? What’s the deal?
    He on the hill pumpin’ krills to keep they bellies filled
    Light in the ass with heavy steel, sights on the pretty shit in life
    Young soldiers trying to earn they next stripe
    When the average minimum wage is $5.15
    You best believe you gotta find a new ground to get C.R.E.A.M
    The white unemployment rate is nearly more than triple for black
    So front liners got they gun in your back
    Bubbling crack, jewel theft and robbery to combat poverty
    And end up in the global jail economy
    Stiffer stipulations attached to each sentence
    Budget cutbacks but increased police presence
    And even if you get out of prison still living
    Join the other five million under state supervision
    This is business, no faces just lines and statistics
    From your phone, your zip code, to SSI digits
    The system break man, child and women into figures
    Two columns for who is and who ain’t niggas
    Numbers is hard and real and they never have feelings
    But you push too hard, even numbers got limits
    Why did one straw break the camel’s back? Here’s the secret
    The million other straws underneath it, it’s all mathematics

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  • Nothing to worry yuh head
    China on the move transportation land sea and airport would be good for the taking
    Barbados have a govt that wheels and deal out of the eyes of the people
    Transparency and accountability be dammed

    Xxxxxx

    $256.6m project needs clarity
    by John Beale
    Yes, The Scotland District is in dire need of development.
    It is also very encouraging to note that the government is finally taking action as stated by the Acting Prime Minister, Santia Bradshaw, and pronouncements of the Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan and Minister Ryan Straughn in the Ministry of Finance.
    All the ministers expressed their satisfaction on the attractive terms that the government was able to borrow from the Export-Import Bank of China for the Scotland District Road Rehabilitation Project.
    While we appreciate the importance of developing the Scotland District, we trust that a thorough analysis (including investment possibilities) has been done to justify spending these funds at this time. In addition, has there been a study regarding the cost of road maintenance and the life expectancy of the new roads, given the high rainfall and soil movement- including soil creep and slippage? Such a large investment with an unknown life expectancy will need other activities to promote faster returns in order to compensate for the shorter life expectancy of the investment.
    One such example would have been Tom Adam’s “vision” of an East Coast Road running continuously all the way to a Conset Bay and College Savannah which would have attracted more tourists.
    The concessional loan in the amount of $256.6 million with interest at 2 per cent per year having a tenure of 20 years and a grace period of five years appears attractive.
    However, it should be noted that there is also a Commitment fee of 0.25 per cent per annum on the undisbursed balance. In addition, there is a Management fee of 0.25 per cent of $641,530.00 paid by the first disbursement. However, these fees are quite reasonable.
    What is of concern is the announced five-year grace period on debt repayment that is really not technically true.
    According to the resolution approved by the House of Assembly, the five-year grace period is “from the effective date of the agreement”. It is NOT from when the full loan is drawn down. Likewise, the disbursement period is “48 months (four years) from the effective date of the agreement.”
    It would be appropriate to know what is the total project cost of the project and how long it will take to execute it in a realistic timeframe. Experience has shown that too many government projects are not executed on time and often funds cannot be drawn because the conditions precedent have not been met.
    A project like the Scotland District requires time to execute and for the development to mature and generate economic results. Hence there is a significant lag between the signing of a loan agreement and the start and completion of this project.
    This project cannot be expected to generate funds to repay interest and debt installments until several years after it is completed. Hence the five-year grace period should NOT start at the signing of the agreement. I also assume that the interest payments during the grace period will be met from some other government source.
    It is noted that the governing law is China which I imagine was at the Chinese insistence and is understandable but it would have been better if it could have been in a neutral country such as the US.
    The other aspects that need further explanations are: It appears that the main contractor is a Chinese company, China National Complete Plant Import—Company (COMPLANT) that specialises in construction and engineering. Once again, I assume this was a condition of the Chinese.
    Hopefully our experience has been excellent with this company because they are the main contractor at the Sam Lord’s project. Will the equipment required for the project also be brought from China and what percentage of the workers will be Bajan? John Beale is a former Investment Officer at the World Bank group and an International banker.

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  • African Online Publishing Copyright ⓒ 2022. All Rights Reserved

    Dumbville got his own Malta expo bouncing all around cyberspace…..lawd..

    it will be quite the road show when it really gets going…man dey even got his 2/9/2023 release date out there, dat is real soon yuh, he will be back in the fold before ya know it…..and for who is interested in his Myami registration details….dat dere too…

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  • Gonsalves put on Blast

    Scolding for Gonsalves
    VINCENTIAN PRIME MINISTER CHASTISED FOR BLAMING LIAT’S FATE ON PILOTS
    Present and former LIAT pilots have hit out at one of the shareholder government leaders of the airline over recent remarks he made concerning the workers’ roles in the company’s collapse.
    The administrators of the Leeward Islands Airlines Pilots Association (LIALPA) are protesting comments made by St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, that the staff are to blame for the airline’s demise.
    “The Leeward Islands Airlines Pilots Association (LIALPA) is disappointed and saddened by the unfortunate comments made by the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines, The Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves recently in the media,” said the association in a statement issued on Monday.
    “You have been silent for virtually two years and in your first address, you found it most fitting to chastise the workers in their time of need. We view the notion that the workers are to be blamed for the failure of the airline as inaccurate and a cheap shot,” LIALPA declared.
    The pilots contended that the airline has always been “tumultuous” for reasons beyond the staff’s control.
    “What should be of supreme importance to you sir, and the other shareholder prime ministers during these unprecedented times of financial fallout for workers, is to collectively solve the issue of owed entitlements to the terminated workers,” the representative body for the LIAT pilots pointed out. “Terminated workers have been on the breadline since April 2020 and are in dire straits.
    “We are forced to remind you sir, as far back as 2013 in the Beverly Sinclair interview on Time to Talk in Grenada, you told Ms Sinclair that LIAT is not an ordinary business and without it we could not get from one island to another,” the LIALPA recalled. “Lastly, you created the rationale that we were lucky if it broke even. In at least three of the last audits conducted, the directors of the board – some of whom you have appointed – admitted that the airline was insolvent,” the statement said.
    The bargaining agent for the pilots noted, however, that the directors were guaranteed that the shareholders would support, finance, and amend laws to keep the airline operating.
    “The workers were not responsible for the high taxes on tickets, the scheduling of unprofitable routes, the selection of various management, the costly selection of the ATR aircraft, the hangar fire which destroyed vital technical historical records for the aircraft and for the hurricanes which ravaged the region,” LIALPA argued.
    The pilots’ body also recalled that in a 2019 meeting in Barbados between the shareholders and unions to discuss the state of the airline, a request for a pay cut of 10 per cent was made to the union “LIALPA agreed to a six per cent cut, but the proposal was ultimately refused by the company and viewed as not being sufficient. Whose fault was that? At that time Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua & Barbuda stated that ‘you could not ask the workers to give more’, [and that] ‘a partial pay cut was better than none’,’” the LIAT pilots’ staff association recalled.
    “The workers suggested baggage fees which are common in the airline industry [and] that was flatly refused by you. Other Prime Ministers have also made comments such as ‘LIAT has 10 days of cash left’ which severely impacted the confidence of travelers. Two former Prime Ministers of Barbados asked the company not to retrieve the funds from CLICO and instead of the company doing the right thing to protect the workers’ interests, they gave in to political pressure and left the money in CLICO,” LIALPA claimed.
    The organisation asked: “Where is CLICO today and who was involved in the protection of that company?”
    LIALPA contended that every step of the way the workers had remained loyal while making “many” sacrifices with regard to delayed salaries, other outstanding monies, no pay increases, and the disregarding of workers’ rights through the years. “Despite these impediments, these issues did not hamper our drive to be one of the safest airlines in the region if not in the Western Hemisphere. LIAT had an envious safety record transporting yourself, other Prime Ministers, citizens and tourists alike. Now, to be discarded as used and spent entities,” LIALPA added.
    The association accused Gonsalves of showing no empathy for the plight of the LIAT workers.
    “We don’t need platitudes… We need leadership from the four shareholder prime ministers,” the statement said.
    The representative group urged the LIAT shareholders to take a leaf out of the book of St Lucian Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre who honoured payments to the St Lucian former workers. (EJ)

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