The contribution by Independent Senator Dr. Kristina Hinds on a plan by government to increase the pensionable age to 68 should be an important issue for Barbadians. It seems in a 2023 too many policy decisions being taken by our respective governments post independence – whether by accident or design – will result in the destruction of wealth and financial wellbeing of a majority Black population.
The government of Barbados needs to have an honest conversation with its key constituent about the current state of the National Insurance Fund (NIF), this includes the laying of up-to- date financials in parliament required by law. Why are educated Barbadians more concerned with ordering with the size of a Chefette roti or the cost of a Swift motor car?
Why did this important legislation had to be amended after a long period of deliberation, consultation and other financial and time related activities? It smacks of incompetence yet again. A key metric of performance of the government by the people must be protecting the financial stability of citizens.
What is the issue we are hearing about this time. Is it the government wants to raise the pensionable age from 67 to 68 now?
See Nation New’s summary of Senator Dr. Kristina Hinds’ contribution below:
The south coast sewage treatment plant was originally intended to be tertiary treatment.
The major issue with water in Barbados is getting enough for irrigation. The requirements for water for domestic purposes can be met by the water produced by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). There are several methods for producing additional water for irrigation. In 2014 I sent an article to Barbados Underground (BU) titled Agriculture and feeding our people.
Submitted by Bentley Norville With all the recent and current talk on agriculture and our gargantuan food import bill a serious rethink on how we acquire our food is urgently required. With our food import bill around 800 to 900 … Continue reading →
This is one method. Also changing the antiquated methods we farm (for food crops) is another way to go. I’ve also submitted articles on this to BU.
As it relates to using water from sewage treatment plants this can also be done. There are 3 stages of sewage treatment, namely primary treatment, secondary treatment and tertiary treatment. The south coast sewage treatment plant was originally intended to be tertiary treatment (when I worked on the project back in 1983) but was later changed to primary treatment, so I’ve been informed. The final effluent from the tertiary treatment plant was supposed to have been pumped uphill near the Ministry of Agriculture compound to irrigate food crops not intended for consumption raw. This was meant as a pilot project. With the change in the plant system all this went out the window. We have adequate water in Barbados to supply our needs. The problem is not lack of water but management of our water resources.
Barbadians have been advised the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) will be engaged in road works in several areas including BRIDGETOWN during the month of October 2023. It is no secret Broad Street, Fairchild Street, Marhill Street, St. Michaels Row are heavily used roads any day of the week except on Sundays.
It therefore beggars belief why a deep trench would be left for motorists to reduce speed to almost a dead stop in order to prevent damage to vehicles. The blogmaster is not criticizing the NPC project to improve service to the area, the criticism is levelled at how the project is being managed. How difficult can it be to cover the trenches with pieces of metal during the off work period? Bear in mind the cumulative effect of cars having to slow to negotiate the open trench which will add to traffic congestion.
Barbados Underground and traditional news sources have been highlighting the mysterious case of Savvy on the Bay yet to be resolved. The public dispute between Allan Kinch and government encouraged Prime Minister Mia Mottley to issue the following statement in April 2023. As usual the citizens of Barbados are treated like pariahs in a democratic system of government designed to serve them. Several MONTHS later Mottley’s promise must be categorized as another empty promise by a politician.
… you [Senior Ministers William Duguid and Dale Marshall] have a timeline on these negotiations, and if these negotiations don’t finish within the next few weeks, there must be a ministerial statement to the Parliament and all of the facts laid bare, including how this matter started under the last government; why there was a need to go to court under the last government; how, therefore, the sale was proceeded with as a result of an act of specific performance; and why we would not have been able to act before when we said from the very beginning, those two lots in the middle were always car parks …
The technical definition to describe Barbados being a scarce country is – “ its lack of fresh water resources, … water availability of just 306 cubic meters per capita per year, [which] makes [Barbados] the 15th most water‐scarce nation in the world”. (Forbes 2019).
Many Barbadians struggle to understand why Barbados is considered a water scarce country with rain water allowed to gush into the sea to name one concern. The blogmaster understands from the engineers it is uneconomic to trap runoff water generated from seasonal rains.
In recent days two news items related to water availability piqued the interest. Manager of Water Resources and Environmental Management Alex Ifill confirmed the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) does not have the capacity to support any increase in agri-food production. He also warned that climate change will soon adversely affect farmers currently engaged in rainfed farming.
The other point worth discussing was raised by Minister Ryan Straughn while participating at an IMF forum last week. In a nutshell the plan by government appears to treat and convert dirty water to potable. The offshore revelation has triggered negative public commentary from Barbadians who have historically been proud to promote good water quality.
Denial of Human Rights by the Government of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, so called champion of Climate Change and presumed candidate for UN General Secretary.
Submitted by David Weekes
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen of the Caribbean Newspaper Fraternity,
Please find attached the details of this matter of my continued abuse by Mia Amor Mottley Prime Minister of Barbados and her corrupt government administration fully detailed in the attached Denial of Human Rights… document.
For 17 years, I have been a victim of systematic Abuse of my Human Rights in Barbados, a country which Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, leader of the newly minted, banana Republic of Barbados, ironically calls A Nation of Laws but astute review of documents herein attached will bring light to this misnomer.
I continue to have my Human Rights, particularly rights defined under Articles 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 violated. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights Article 7 reads:
Let us strip away the politics and emotion from this transaction, instead we must focus and discuss the facts.
David I have been following the Savvy issue from its onset. I have read the documents supplied by Ms Sarah Taylor, which in my view need to be discussed in simple terms and without prejudice. The public needs to understand the facts of the issue and dismiss red herrings that may be floated by parties.
First let us start with what was bought by Mr Kinch for the $4 million Barbados dollars. Listed below are the lot sizes taken from the conveyances provided by Ms Taylor (1 sq m equals m2)
Lot A 4873.9 m2
Lot B 5254.9 m2
Lot C 1749.2 m2
Total 11878 m2
Keep in mind 1 sq m (m2) is 10.764 sq feet therefore the total area made up by the 3 lots translates to 127,854.79 sq feet. Hence with a purchase price of BBD$4 million, Mr Kinch was paid $31.28 a square foot plus legal fees. Those are the facts and I have attached the 3 signature pages of the signed conveyances to confirm the numbers. These were based on the surveys done by Mr. Ken Ward and accepted by the board of Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTII) to which the directors in seat signed off.
The Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee are enabling agencies to ring fence the profession.
This brief notice published to today’s press piqued the blogmaster’s interest. We have twelve more lawyers who will earn the right to wear silks as well as adding a few more dollars to the client invoice.
Special Supreme Court sitting
THERE WILL BE a Special Sitting of the Supreme Court of Barbados on Friday at 10 a.m. to admit to the Inner Bar 12 attorneys who have been appointed as Senior Counsel.
They are Wilfred Abrahams, Tammy Bryan, Gillian Henderson Clarke, Rudolph Greenidge, Kathy-Ann Hamblin, Edmund Hinkson, Arthur Holder, Anika Jackson, Stephen Lashley, Angela Mitchell-Gittens, Alliston Seale and Liesel Weekes. (BGIS)
Barbados has experienced 40 outages between 1January 2023 and 22 September 2023.
Amit@caribbeansignal blogs with analytics top of his mind. His latest project, track electricity outages in Barbados. By his research Barbados has experienced 40 outages between 1January 2023 and 22 September 2023.
Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) – a company owned by EMERA out of Canada must do better for the people of Barbados. The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) where the buck stops must do better. Why should it take 2 years for a rate hearing to be closed and in the meantime BL&P continues to enjoy an interim rate increase. It does not make sense. Barbadian consumers may have a good case to question if the FTC has been acting fairly.
Posted as a comment to the Development by any means blog by Trevor Browne of the Cooperative Coalition, Intervenor – BLPC Rate Hearing 2021
Trevor Browne – Cooperative Coalition, Intervenor
Having participated in the now two-year-old BLPC Rate review process, the representatives of the Coalition of Cooperatives are not surprised at the recent island-wide blackout experienced by the BLPC.
There is no question about the complexity of maintaining an isolated island electric utility, twenty four hours a day, and every day of every year.
However BLPC has been characterized by;
• the clear lack of strategic planning towards the National Energy Policy • the refusal to invest in new plant now for over a decade since this has been known to be needed • massive cuts in maintenance systems and expenditure, • and an alarming emphasis on extracting dividends that has been way out of proportion to past history for BLPC.
It seems intuitive that the price to be paid for such a strategy by BLPC will eventually be seen in increasing unreliability, outages and poor customer service. Indeed, it is our considered opinion that, were it not for the high quality of staff at BLPC and their personal commitment to serving Barbados, such outages would by now have been a regular feature of BLPC operations. However even such dedication has its limits.
Savvy on the Bay matter- if the BTII failed to do due diligence by hiring Mr Kenneth Ward, both Mr Ward as the surveyor and Mr Kinch as the buyer had an obligation to legally declare a conflict of interest.
Blogmaster, I sent you 2 paragraphs governing conflict of interest by surveyors and engineers as outlined by law. The wording in US and British law is slightly different, however, both speak to a professional and legal obligation to the client.
The reason I sent this is because a blogger of yours touched on it, but I do not think many understand the legal liability that this places on a transaction in terms of the efficacy of the survey. Also I read where a blogger tried to down play it by saying [paraphrasing] “so what if the same surveyor that worked for Mr Kinch worked for BTII, Barbados is a small place“. My point is – if the BTII failed to do due diligence by hiring Mr Kenneth Ward, both Mr Ward as the surveyor and Mr Kinch as the buyer had an obligation to legally declare a conflict of interest.
Chairman of CoopEnergy Trevor Browne issued the following clarification statement in reply to the following comment made by Dr. Roland Clarke – Blogmaster
This issue is perhaps at the very heart of the current impasse in the ongoing Rate Hearing, and even more fundamentally in the dismal lack of progress of the proposed energy transformation for Barbados.
It is quite clear that EMERA thinks that BLPC belongs to them, and that they therefore have the option to do as they please in exercising that ‘ownership right’. We are also aware that Dr Clarke has been a paid consultant to the Government of Barbados and perhaps has been able to convince local officials that this is the case.
CoopEnergy has no authority, and no interest in ‘making decisions’ about the investment of Credit Union funds in this project.
We welcome the intervention by our brother Ashton Turney, who have raised a number of concerns that we are sure have been echoed by others in the co-operative sector.
The Co-operative Movement represents a unique organizational concept that operates on seven principles of open membership, member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, member education, cooperation among cooperatives, and community concern.
When CoopEnergy was conceived and registered back in 2019, it was by a number of highly respected and experienced leaders of the sector who all fully appreciate the concerns raised by Brother Turney.
Then president of the League, Mr Hally Haynes was chairman of the Steering Committee and that committee included other former officers of the league as well as current leaders of other co-operative societies, who all fully understand the concerns raised, and who therefore took deliberate actions to resolve those concerns.
Read full reply from Chairman Trevor Browne of the Cooperative Coalition –
…it has taken nearly two years, to fail to adjudicate a straightforward rate review request from the utility
We are pleased to share with you the summary report provided to our members on the ongoing BLPC Rate Hearings as at August 30, 2023. After nearly two years, we feel obligated to provide a comprehensive overview of our findings so far for our Co-op members. One of our primary objectives in becoming involved in the process was to ensure that a clear and understandable assessment of the key issues is made available to any and all members of the Co-operative movement, and indeed of the public, who have the interest.
Trevor Browne, Chairman, Cooperative Coalition
The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BLPC) is arguably the most critical asset owned by the people of Barbados. It is a regulated public utility, created by the Laws of Barbados for the public good, and is structured in such a way that its day-to-day operations are leased, by the Ministry of Energy, to a selected franchise holder, who enjoys a long-term contract of service – currently 42 years. The present franchise expires in 2028 after having been granted in 1986. BLPC is regulated by the FTC and operates subject to a number of the Laws of Barbados – specifically the Electric Light & Power Act (ELPA), Utilities Regulations Act (URA), Utilities Procedural Regulation Rules (UPRR) and the Fair Trading Act (FTA).
Just under two years ago, the Coalition of Cooperatives, representing the Barbados Sustainable Energy Co-operative Society Ltd, The Barbados Cooperative & Credit Union League and the Barbados Cooperative Business Association Ltd., applied, and were accepted as one of the Intervenors in the 2021 BL&P rate hearing application.
The following link was forwarded to the blogmaster’s inbox by our dearly departed ac. It is a serious matter and we thank her for making the blogmaster aware of this recent event.
There is still a sewerage problem on the South Coast although being ‘managed’ away from the glare of the public, add to the list now a rat problem. A consequence of the rat problem is that baby turtles are being targeted by the rats.
These rat attacks on turtles and invasion of popular eating spots on the South Coast are occurring in the highly trafficked tourist belt. Anyone passing on the South Coast today observed traffic congestion caused by major construction of a hotel. One must question the sense of it all.
The level of public distrust is at an all time low and with a Mia Mottley government that has mastered the art of sanitizing public disclosures – who to trust?
The Savvy on the Beach story has generated significant interest in recent months, it is a classic case of the rich and political elite mixing it up. In fact many observers conclude it is an example of how the business class and government interact oftentimes skirting the regulations to solidify economic power.
Against the foregoing Barbados Underground is happy to broadcast that parties concerned have launched a website to capture all the pertinent details about Savvy on the Beach.
The following is a clarification statement issued by Sarah Taylor, an associate of Allan Kinch, to respond to an article published in the Sunday Sun (13 August) titled Savvy Setback. See full Sunday Sun article posted below at the end of the submission.
I want to give some clarity on how the statement in question came about.
I was messaging the journalist pertaining to the petition to keep Savvy On The Bay open and I told the journalist I signed for 2 documents weeks ago that turned out to be a stop and enforcement notice on the Old Eye Ward building. It ordered that work had to stop and spoke about returning it to the state it was in before we started working on it. It was not something we discussed at length, I had mentioned it because I remembered getting a nose bleed as soon as I read it.
I was lost as to why the planning department served the notice without determining the application that was submitted in 2020 and updated two weeks prior to the notice being served. I was was also lost as to why they asked for an application to be submitted in the notice when they had already been submitted.
Now that the crop over dust has settled it is clear that we were always in the wukking and jucking season. Videos and photos all over social media shows the old, young, black, white, slim, fat, rich and poor jucking down the place and wukking up like mad.
And, as if on cue, we the people continue to bend over and tek these jucks sometimes without even looking back to see who the owner of the banana is.
We get juck down with a change to NIS. Now the big boss begging for everyone to come on board after the fact.
The BTMI CEO get juck all the way cross the ocean over to Africa. Guess he couldn’t wuk up good enough!
The NCF juck down revelers with a whopping 13 hour jump and 8 hour wait that ended in darkness and jumpers in distress. Then they put their hands up, rolled their batties and told us that it was the best Kadooment ever.
Key actors in Civil Society, including significant political opposition, must come together to engineer successful protest action in a Barbados space.
The attempts by Caswell Franklyn of Unity Workers Union and others to galvanize protest action by Barbadians is commendable. In a democracy the opportunity for citizens to exercise a right to protest must be protected. History is replete with many examples where protest action by civic minded citizens forced change from those targeted.
One of the biggest protest actions in Barbados was the march in 1981 led by a powerful Barbados Workers Union (BWU) to protest the sacking of David Gilkes by BARTEL. In 2017 there was the BLP led march that attracted thousands to signal to an incumbent Democratic Labour Party (DLP) its increasing unpopularity.
In the early 2000s the Barbados government took the decision as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) mandate to liberalize our telecommunication sector. For many years Cable and Wireless was the single telecom player licensed to provide services in Barbados. Cable and Wireless was the classic monopoly and raked in millions if not billions in profits since its establishment in the 19th century.
With the liberalization of the sector there was high expectation from the public that with fair competition, supported by the creation of a regulator and relevant legislation there was a new dawn. The late Prime Minister Owen Arthur as lead HoG for CSME matters was quoted in 1998 as saying – “Mr. Speaker, one of the areas of gravest deficiencies in our economic affairs is the set of arrangements in place for regulating the affairs of public utilities, and monopolies and protecting the interest of consumers and producers who have to relate to such monopolies“. It is fair to opine that nearly twenty five years later, Barbados telecoms players have NOT been able to satisfactorily monitor service standards, respond to customer complaints or guarantee affordable rates among other promises.
The People of Barbados will be severely affected by the proposed changes to the National Insurance Scheme. They have noted that last March 2022, the Prime Minister stated that it was her intent to:
1. Make the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) a Statutory Corporation more independent from Government by the end of 2022.
2. Recapitalize the NIS.
3. Add a requirement to diversify investments both locally and abroad.
4. Ensure that when private projects SEEK PUBLIC SUPPORT, they give the NIS the choice to invest.
However, the People of Barbados not having been privy to any report on the consultations regarding the National Insurance scheme, not being provided information on the Actuarial Review of the Pension Fund, not having knowledge of the assets of the Scheme or how the tax payers monies are being spent or invested or government’s action to recover funds that are being owed; are now being faced with a Bill that has already passed in the House of Assembly without discussion when this Bill will have profound effects on the lives of the dwindling middle class and all of the persons from the lower echelons of society and Barbadians yet unborn. The Bill is now before the Senate the step before it becomes the law of the land.
The Government is irresponsibly rushing through important legislation to fundamentally change Barbados. One includes a Bill to give the Minister absolute control over the National Insurance Scheme in the National Insurance and Social Security (Amendment) Act, 2023.
Currently, the Minister’s role is to establish the offices and let them run. The Minister cannot legally meddle but is consulted and gives approvals. Section 11 of the current Act follows.
Section 11: “The Minister shall, by order under section 2 of the Civil Establishment Act, establish the offices which shall constitute the offices on the Board’s establishment, which offices shall for all purposes be deemed to be offices in the public service Staff.”
To control and direct a useless rubber-stamp Board, a replacement provision follows.
What does it mean that so many minority C&W shareholders have refused to claim the offered compensation for their shares (https://bse.com.bb/news/23569)? Perhaps the Barbados Financial Services Commission (FSC) could learn much from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Many jobs offer just a few opportunities for the holders of those jobs to demonstrate their suitability for the job. The remainder of the time, almost anyone could do the job,
Ministerial Statement On Revitalisation Of National Insurance Scheme
BY GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS | JUL 28, 2023 |
Minister of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector, Colin Jordan. (FP)
Ministerial Statement on the revitalisation of the National Insurance Scheme by Minister of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector, Colin Jordan, in the House of Assembly on Friday, July 28, 2023.
Mr. Speaker, the 17th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance Fund, the Unemployment Fund and Severance Fund as of December 31, 2020 was laid in this Honourable House on August 9, 2022. I should remind Members that the National Insurance Scheme manages these three funds along with the Catastrophe Fund and the Sugar Workers’ Provident Fund.
During the three years under review, the number of contributors decreased each year while the number of pensioners and the total pension payouts increased each year.
The Review’s assessment suggests that current contribution and benefit provisions generally provide a very good level of benefit adequacy and income protection to most workers and pensioners. The legislated annual adjustments of the earnings limit and pensions have been effective in replacing most of the price inflation felt by pensioners and maintaining adequate coverage for higher paid workers. In other words, pensioners have generally been able to use the cost of living allowance increases to adjust to temporary price rises.
There is more than meets the eye between Savvy on the Bay (Allan Kinch) and government.
It should be obvious to onlookers there is more than meets the eye concerning Allan Kinch rumble with government and developments at Savvy on Bay on Bay Street. A recent pronouncement on the matter by Attorney General Dale Marshall that two of three tracts of land owned by Kinch will be acquired by the government for car park has only served to trigger questions about why the government has taken a decision to acquire land that was sold to Kinch by a former government. The lack of transparency regarding this transaction AND others adds to a growing distrust by the public of the government.
Here is a summary of events in the matter up to now from one perspective.
The acceptance letter from BTII was in 2015 which means the disputed lands at Bay Street from application until it was approved for sale straddles both DLP and BLP administrations.
Kinch had to forego investment income on 4 million to purchase the property. He was told BTII would help with the planning process and that the plans would add to the Tourism development planned for the area.
This is the same WTE plant that is the subject of that town planning notice. $16.6 M of network upgrades to accommodate the energy from the WTE plant. That Feed In Tariff was privately negotiated. Not approved by the FTC as the law requires. Not by a public process anyway.
The following was posted as received by Barbados Underground. Is this another example a Barbados government operating by stealth to implement a project without exhaustive and TRANSPARENT consultation with citizens of Barbados? The irony is that the botched Cahill Barbados project piloted by the late Minister of Energy Denis Lowe helped the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to gain popularity in the country. Now that the ghost of Cahill has appeared, what does it bode for the BLP and citizens of Barbados? In the words of a popular song, Time will tell.
Sir Lloyd Sandiford died yesterday at the age of 86 years old, to be expected the tributes have been pouring in about the good things ‘Sandi’ did. The reality is that the late Sandiford will be recorded as one of the more unpopular Prime Ministers of Barbados surpassed in recent times by his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) colleague former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
For many Sandiford will be remembered for three things in local political history. He suffered a mutiny that resulted in a no confidence motion – see BU files. He presided over the imposition of an 8% cut on public workers salaries. The consideration, to prevent a devaluation of the Barbados dollar. Finally he is credited for being the Minister of Education who transformed our educational system.
It is a courtesy often extended to speak glowingly of the dearly departed. May you Rest in Peace. Your presence will be missed by the BU household.
Washington, DC: The Government of Barbados announced at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris an integrated package of innovative initiatives to accelerate its transition to net zero, boost resilience, enfranchise workers, and draw in private sector investment while prudently managing public debt levels. These initiatives build on the ongoing climate policy reforms, supported by the Resilience and Sustainability Facility with the International Monetary Fund, which are expected to play a catalytic role in mobilizing private and public sector financing for climate projects.
This package of initiatives reflects unprecedented cooperation and a new “system approach” between the Government, its Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF) at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Barbados’ long-standing financing partners; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank Group (WBG), Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF), European Investment Bank (EIB), and Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Barbados is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and it needs to invest heavily to protect its citizens from hurricanes, flooding and droughts, and to preserve its natural capital. It is committed to achieving sustainable public debt levels, meaning that the government has limited borrowing capacity for public investments. To meet these challenges, it has identified four complementary approaches together with its financing partners.
Late last year Prime Minister Mia Mottley advised the country after one of her jaunts that a deal was in the making with the Rwandan Government to establish a pharmaceutical industry in the region, the first of its kind. Mottley further updated that the Rwandan Food and Drug Administration and the Barbados Drug Service and Ministry of Health and Wellness had started discussions to advance the matter.
A few days ago Chief Medical Officer The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George was quoted in the media as saying Barbados was, “considering the possibility of establishing local vaccine manufacturing capabilities in response to the challenges brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic”. He explained the Covid 19 pandemic had exposed an inequity with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) unable to access the vaccine therefore compromising the ability of public health authorities to protect vulnerable members of the public.
Press Release for Extension of Donation Nation Charity Shop and the presentation of Cheque Donations by the Honourable Adrian Forde, Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Blue and Green Economy.
The Future Centre Trust’s Donation Nation Charity Shop celebrated its second year of successful operations and the recent store expansion today with the gracious attendance of the Honourable Adrian Forde, Minister of the Environment and National Beautification.
Donation Nation welcomes donations of high-quality pre-loved clothes, books, household items, furniture and more, which it resells at accessible prices, diverting waste from the landfill whilst generating revenue to fund local charities.
Between October 2020 and May 2023 Donation Nation distributed $251,845 to support 17 local charities serving a wide range of community and ecological causes, from disability supports to cancer care, reef restoration and nonprofits that support at-risk youth and women. Donation Nation is also helping the Future Centre Trust fund the Barbados Trailway Project, which is reclaiming 24 km of the historic train line for a multi-use recreational trail, and Clean Up Barbados, which organizes island-wide beach and gully clean-ups.
The news dropped last week there is a plan afoot to charge $60.00 for the controversial national ID card after 30 June 2023. This revelation was made by the Chief Electoral Officer Angela Taylor. The Barbados Today press report is date stamped 6 June 2023, to date the blogmaster has NOT picked up on a single clarification statement from the Chief Electoral Officer or Davidson Ishmael who is the minister responsible. Barbadians have to assume the $60 charge has received the blessings of the Mottley led Cabinet.
The blogmaster suspects the ‘thought process’ behind the $60 charge is intended to light a fire under citizens who have been slow to apply for the new ID for whatever reason. Under normal conditions one would have no serious issue with the fee but the Trident National ID project has been and continues to be fraught with problems. There have been operational issues, procurement issues, poor communications, inefficient distribution to identify some. All the issues have led to growing distrust by citizens about the ID card, made worse in a COVID 19 era.
The government of Barbados has planned a lease and awarding of a $300M contract to an unknown company to run the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados for up to 30 years. The winner of the $300 M contract to lease the airport would be granted a concession or lease to expand, operate and maintain the airport until the end of the contractual period of 30 years. Up until release of this article the company’s identity remains unknown to date June 8th 2023,
There should be nothing to hide when handling an important government asset such as the airport, however the government of Barbados keeps falling down on transparency and the fight against corruption. I relied on international sources to get information on this contract and that is unacceptable. The Barbados government can be cited as withholding information as no updates on the status of the tendering process can be obtained locally.
In February 2021 GAIA project coordinator, Gale Yearwood speaking in an interview with BNamericas confirmed a delay to the airport’s planned privatization. Yearwood reported that, “the government of Barbados, GAIA Inc. and its advisers took the decision to review the transaction to ensure that it meets the needs of and remains attractive to the shortlisted bidders, government, GAIA Inc”. International media reports indicate and can be quoted as saying that the Barbados government has not since July 2021 updated the status of its tendering process in regards to the leasing of the GAIA airport. Greater accountability is required on the $300M airport contract.
One of many concerns Barbados Underground has been championing through the years is the rate of depletion of NIS funds. Quoting former Minister David Estwick who addressed the matter last week, “the operating balance at the NIS becomes negative by 2028, six years from now…and the NIS funds would be depleted in 12 years. Compounding the problem is a matter of poor compliance”. Do we have the capacity to run with the message for the purpose of engaging in constructive debate?
There are not many other ways one can continue to express concern about the management of the NIS by the Barbados and Democratic Labour parties through the years. Although Prime Minister Mottley has given the assurance the NIS is nowhere near to a crisis situation, the reality of the numbers tells a different story for the independent minded.
The country awaits the outcome from a recent national consultation on the NIS when it is anticipated significant changes will have to be implemented. As it stands our NIS contribution is one of the highest in the region with age eligible for full pension benefit being 67. The fact we are labelled an ageing population with restricted opportunity to expand the pool of contributions has opened the door for managed immigration.
While this blog highlights the NIS fund, the burgeoning pension liability of government for the public service, both central government and SOEs adds to the problems a future generation will have to wrestle.
Barbadians have jumped on the bandwagon and have become addicted to the latest flavour of gossip news. In the meantime…
The following article posted in the Nation newspaper on May 25, 2023 with the title Retirement crisis looming, says former Minister is recommended reading.
The blogmaster takes a note that Sir Richard Cheltenham continues to perform in the role of Chairman of the Parliamentary Reform Commission (PRC). The blogmaster has no issue with the quote attributed to him in yesterday’s media – “We have inherited a bicameral system; a House of Assembly and the Senate, but now we have to ask ourselves whether we should continue that system or whether we should have one chamber; a unicameral [system]…We’ve always used the first-past-the-post system that gets most votes at the polls to determine membership but there are questions about whether a mixture of first past the post and proportional representation. . . all of those questions will be on the agenda and have to be carefully considered”. It is important work and hopefully the PRC will deliver on its mandate.
What the blogmaster has a problem with is the fact Sir Richard Cheltemham has a matter pending with the Disciplinary Committee of the BAR association. Several blogs have been published on Barbados Underground (BU) through the years directing the public to matters requiring answers from Cheltemham and local authorities without success. BU also questions those who agree to sit on a committee with Cheltenham with serious accusations outstanding waiting to be ruled on by the Disciplinary Committee of the BAR. Further, BU questions why a Mottley government advocating a political agenda of good governance and integrity continue to appoint persons who are being investigated for possible wrongdoings.#peterodle
The traffic situation on our roads can be described as being in a state of organized chaos. Successive governments have adopted a laissez-faire approach to traffic management and regrettably the Barbados Police Force (BPS) must be included as part of the problem. The lawlessness being witnessed daily on the roads in Barbados many argue is a symptom of something bigger.
The Barbados Transport Authority was established in 2007 to (a) undertake the planning of the transport system, (b) monitor and regulate the operations of the public transport system, among many other functions listed under the Transport Authority Act which was recently amended. A conclusion can be made based on what transpires daily on our roads the Transport Authority is a another failed government agency leaking taxpayer money.
The blogmaster has been in town too long to accept the Nation’s headline ‘Outdoor facilities awaiting green light emblazoned on today’s page 3A. There is no doubt in the mind of the blogmaster traditional media is easily manipulated by the political directorate and shadows with deep pockets not necessarily in that order.
Barbados Underground has posted blogs highlighting the ongoing struggle and frustration of Allan Kinch to develop his property located on Bay Street. The blogmaster does not have a bone in the fight, however, there is prima facie case as presented in the court of public opinion to more than hint there is more in the mortar than the pestle.
There is a story brewing which involves the ‘abduction’ of an alleged Trinidadian arms dealer from Barbados. The blogmaster has not been following closely to do justice to the matter largely because the BU household decided to retreat to Cattlewash for the long weekend. However, the matter has raised a few times by members of the BU family reflected in messages to BU inbox.
Here are three links to the story for your consumption and discussion.
On the 18 April 2023 Barbados Underground shared a disturbing story that a medical student enrolled at an offshore medical school in Barbados registered under the name of Barbados International University (BIU) committed suicide. The reasons shared can be seen on the previous blog – INDIAN MEDICAL STUDENT DIES BY SUICIDE AT BRIDGETOWN.
Arising from the story it was reported in the traditional media on the 20 April 2023 local police confirmed the matter was being investigated. The also confirmed what is generally known- an autopsy will have to be performed to determine the cause of death. The blogmaster takes this opportunity to issue a gentle reminder about a related matter stuck in the ‘system’ – Media Barred from Emma McManus’ Inquest.
The question must be asked, why is the process in Barbados and other civilized counties used to determine cause of death being disrespected? Here is how the matter was reported in The Times of India on 20 April 2023.
Khammam student dies in Barbados
Hyderabad: A 20-year-old student from Khammam suffered a heart attack on 17 April and died in Barbados in the Caribbean islands where he was pursuing his medicine course….
The Tax Administration Management Information System (TAMIS) was implemented in 2018 for business and individuals filed one year later. From all reports it was implemented at great expense to taxpayers. It should be an easy process to identify the cost of government projects but as we have found out with the Trident ID project as one example, it is not.
TAMIS has caught the interest because of utterances from Commissioner of the Barbados Revenue Authority Louisa Lewis-Ward in May of 2021. She was quoted that discussions had NOT reached an advance stage on if TAMIS had to be replaced.
“…The directors are taking a look at it in earnest to see how far we can go to rectify some of the issues which caused taxpayers discomfort in the system…The system did cost quite a pretty penny and therefore, it’s not an easy decision to make to throw the baby out with the bath water. We’ve just moved from one system to another…and the TAMIS system was supposed to be the technological replacement, so we will take a look at the system in earnest…
Recently, a case was brought against a local medical practitioner for malpractice. The courts ruled against it. Reading the following report, one has caused to wonder what effect this local case had and will continue to have on the parties involved, how it will effect them going forward and the consequences this case will have throughout the local medical profession as it interacts with the public.
Has a time bomb been set in place for patients and professionals alike? Many of the stressors in the article are reported to be present in the local arena.
The Science and Technology Festival is currently taking place on the grounds of UWI, Cave Hill under the Graduation tent, it ends today (18th March 2023). The festival is being organized by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Smart Technology and the Faculty of Science and Technology at Cave Hill.
It is a good idea for parents and guardians to expose children to the event anticipating where global demands for skills is headed. For details of the event see the Ministry’s Facebook Page. The event is showcasing the innovation and inventions of Barbadian students up to University level’
The following note was received from the Head of Unity Workers Union and former Senator Caswell Franklyn – Blogmaster.
David the attached document is a spreadsheet showing the increase in salaries in the Public Service. Please note that the 10% increase in allowances for the politicians must be added to the column showing “Total Increase”. For example the actual increase for the Prime Minister $1,082.67 plus $456.99 increase in entertainment allowance for a total of $1,539.66 per month. Persons at the bottom of the scale would only receive $123.85 increase.
The Barbados government is in the process of initiating another bold policy that without a doubt will be contentious. The draft policy prepared by the Barbados Population Commission was recently posted to the Barbados Government Information Service website to garner feedback from the public during the month of March 2023.
What cannot be refuted is that Barbados is an ageing population, when this is coupled with a declining fertility rate – Houston, we have a problem. On the current trajectory the quality of the labour force; talent pool and revenue opportunity will be negatively impacted.
It was heartwarming to learn about a truce between local gangs (we do have gangs in Barbados) orchestrated by players from the affected communities. The leader of the homegrown initiative Winston ‘Iston’ Bull and his team must be given all the plaudits. What is demonstrates is that we have the capacity to solve problems. We pray for the truce to hold and for similar community based initiatives to take root.
See the Nation newspaper video of Branch sharing his perspective on the initiative and related.
It is Superbowl (57) today and local talent and one of two living national heroes Rihanna is slated to perform at halftime, one of the biggest slots on the global entertainment program. If you are a detractor or not Barbadians and Caribbean people everywhere will be kicking back to bask in the global spotlight her performance will attract.
The following was sent to BU’s inbox to create awareness about the plight of admin staff working at Barbados Consulates – Barbados Underground
Government opening consulates all over the place but the established ones haven’t had increases since 2010, everyone making the government mandated minimum wage from 2022 with the maid in New York being the highest paid employee since she is also the night cleaner making $4,000 monthly as night cleaner.
So her monthly pay is over $5,000. She has been night cleaner about 10 years. And the office supplies the cleaning supplies, she employs 2 people to work with her.
People in Canada, USA and London haven’t had salary increases since 2010 which were backdated to 2008, because government didn’t have money to cover the entire period 2000 to 2010. Staff turnover in Canada is very high because of the low wages and in New York the monthly salary is $2700 USD since 2008 and rents increasing annually and government opening missions and consulates all over the world.
The Chairperson of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) Renee Coppin reacted to the announcement by given support to the increase, BUT, criticized the process. She opined there was a lack of proper consultation with key stakeholders by not giving sufficient time to factor the increase in business planning by those who will be most effected. There was a suggestion the increase could have been implemented after a 90 day disclosure period.