Over the Rainbow

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

Like almost every other Barbadian, I used to be unquestioningly confident about our banking system. But in 2018, Barbados banks voted against depositors’ interests. My bank voted for the Government to confiscate some of my retirement savings, and hold the remainder hostage – not allowing me to access all of it until the year 2033. Therefore, they gave me every reason to distrust them.

This year, Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank that lent us money with unfavourable terms, was failing. Fortunately, their depositors were insured to 100,000 Swiss Francs (BD$225,000). In the UK, the insured amount is 85,000 British pounds (BD$215,000). In Canada, it is CAD$100,000 (BD$150,000). In Europe, it is $100,000 Euros (BD$220,000). In the US, it is US$250,000 (BD$500,000).


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Why Barbados Public Workers is in the News Again

In recent weeks there has been noise in the traditional and social media space triggered by concerns coming out of the largest credit union in Barbados. It is no secret the blogmaster in the not too recent past registered concerns about how some matters were being managed at Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union (BPWCCUL) and subsidiaries, specifically CAPITA Financial

It says a lot about the current state of member relations at BPWCCUL a few vocal members felt driven to share concerns in the public space. The blogmaster must admit a lot of the concerns are steeped in ignorance. Several of the few voicing concerns readily admitted to not having attended AGMs or having read relevant laws and rules governing how members should interact with the credit union it owns. For the purpose of this intervention the blogmaster will ignore those prominent persons from other credit unions seeking to ‘exploit’.

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The Age of Lump

Submitted by Grenville Phillips II

The Fair-Trading Commission’s rate hearings are tragically amusing. Essentially, Emera (BL&P) are telling Barbadians that 1 + 1 = 38.692. Based on the recent pattern, it is foreseen that FTC will find that 1 + 1 is a number higher than 32.

Several intervenors are using evidence and reason to show that it is sheer lunacy to suggest that 1 + 1 = 38.692. However, they seem oblivious to something that Emera and other foreign entities are relying on – Barbados no longer respects evidence-based arguments.


We have moved from the safety of making decisions based on evidence and reasoned arguments, to a dangerous age where decisions are made based on an end-justifies-the-means philosophy.

It is mathematically possible to argue that 1+ 1 equals a number between 1 and 3. Previously, foreign entities would have had too much respect for Barbadians to even suggest that 1 + 1 equals anything greater than three. But we have informed the world that in Barbados, the means of truth and accuracy are no longer important. The end may justify any dishonest, harmful and idiotic means imaginable.


The first domino to fall was the removal of Nelson’s statue based on provable false justifications. As I explained at the time, I was not defending Nelson but truth. We should not be forced to accept that 1 + 1 = 46 to justify removing any statue. I predicted that crossing this line of ignoring credible evidence, and using dishonest means to justify an end, would eventually be used against all of us.

The next domino to fall was our constitutional monarchical system of Government. The same end-justifies-the-dishonest-means philosophy was used in an even more brazen fashion to force Barbadians into a republic. The Government proved that by simply saying things that were clearly untrue, Barbadians will bow down and declare the lie to be the truth – that is who we have now become.


Some of our community leaders want it both ways. They want to force us to accept ends that they want using dishonest and harmful means, and delay ends that they do not want by insisting on evidence-based research. The UWI professors and lecturers, secondary school teachers, religious leaders, politicians, economists, poets, artists, business leaders, community leaders and others irresponsibly led Barbadians to ignore the dishonest means, fall in line and just accept the ends.

Crossing the line of reason was stupidly short sighted and extremely dangerous for citizens. Having sacrificed our personal integrity for a couple of dominoes, we must now accept ends that are definitely not in our best interests. The pattern of other countries who have gone this way before us, is that after the people short sightedly cheered the fall of the first few dominoes, the fall of the remaining dominoes tended to bring oppressive suffering.


I have a lot of respect for the intervenors, especially fellow Engineers Trevor Browne, Ricky Went and Stephen Worme, Attorney Tricia Watson and Accountant David Simpson. I appreciate their persistent evidence-based reasonable arguments. However, they seem not to know that we are in another age that few of us will like – the age of lump it.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com

Usefulness of Central Banks

Centrals Banks across the globe are coming under increasing scrutiny given what many consider the implementation of flawed monetary policies. With the possible exception of the US Federal Reserve which has an involved management structure and decision making process, central banks are creatures of elected politicians and are constrained to implement policies to buttress government’s agenda.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a pandemic continues to disrupt global supply of food and fuel. A key fallout from the mess has been a spike in the rate of inflation in recent months. The ideologues and academics are squealing in glee from calculating the permutations of the real situation. 

Check out the real situation
Nation war against nation.
Where did it all begin?
When will it end?
Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution,
And there ain’t no use: no one can stop them now.
Ain’t no use: nobody can stop them now.

Bob Marley

With inflation across the globe upwards to 9+%, the effect on SIDs like Barbados will be deleterious. In simple terms Barbados as a net importer will struggle with the consequences managing a trade deficit. However, of more immediate concern is how rising cost of living in developed countries- our source markets for tourism- will fair. Central Banks as agents of governments have been instructed to implement measures to force the inflation rate back to a stable 2%. We have seen the Fed already increased the interest rate by .75% and other major central banks are expected to follow suit designed to influence consumer demand for goods and services.

Back at home there is overwhelming evidence the Central Bank is a rubber stamp for government policy and there is no room for independent policy making. One blatant example which Walter Blackman reminded the public yesterday and has been mentioned in the BU space several times is how the central bank conspired with the previous government to force Barbadians to buy bonds by eliminating the minimum interest rate requirement on savings. It was obvious, it was blatant, it was a desperate attempt by former minister of finance Chris Sinckler supported by the central bank (who was the governor?) to ‘corral’ needed funds. 

Unfortunately when elephants are rumbling it is the grass that suffers. SIDs like Barbados given the design of our economy means we are condemned to be price takers. Although government can try to shield the most vulnerable and keep public sector workers employed, it is a bandaid and the longer current state plays out we have the Freundel Stuart playbook to assist with understanding the outcome derived from diminishing cash resources. 

Do we expect the Governor of the Central Bank to call a meeting anytime soon to announce some novel monetary policy to assist with improving the prevailing economic climate? A consequence of increase in interest rates by large countries is how it will effect Barbados with significant loan repayments of foreign loans.

Financial Crisis in the Forecast – Whither Barbados and SIDs?

The blogmaster is unsure how many Barbadians are going about business today blissfully unaware of the meltdown in global financial markets. Central banks around the world are reluctant to be aggressive with tightening monetary policy for fear it will trigger another financial crisis. The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine will continue to spike inflation given disruption to global supply in a ‘post Covid 19’ period.

For Small Developing States (SIDs) there is no quick fix to the hardships that will have to be endured for an indeterminable period. The Barbados dollar is pegged to the USD and combined with being a net importer with key components being food and oil, as the local parlance goes – we in ducks guts.

This is no time to play politics.

Global markets are tanking ahead of a huge week for central banks



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  • Global stock markets are falling sharply after May’s U.S. inflation print reignited fears that central banks will be forced into aggressive monetary policy tightening.
  • The U.S. 2-year Treasury rate hit its highest level since 2007 on Monday morning and edged closer to an inversion with the benchmark 10-year rate – seen by many as a sign of an impending recession.
  • “While [the Fed] can’t sit there and say their job is to end job creation for the moment, that is basically what they need to do if they are going to get inflation back under control now,” TD Securities’ Richard Kelly said.

Read full CNBC report

A Heather Cole Column – Can Discriminatory Business Practices be Changed?

This article is not meant to shame anyone but to create awareness that will bring about the much-needed change. This is the second time that I have noticed of late that opportunities in business that fall under state own enterprises discriminate against a wide cross section of the Barbadian public.

The first of the recent observation was back in December last year when I applied to and Ad which stated that the Enhance Credit Guarantee Fund was offering funding. I applied on the behalf of The People’s Agricultural and Business Cooperative Society Ltd to find out if this Agricultural Co-op would qualify for funding. 

The response that I received from the Central Bank of Barbados, was that “the support is only for existing businesses incorporated in Barbados.” To this, I responded “The Co-op is in Barbados.  It was certified over a year ago by the Registrar of Cooperatives.”  To this day there has been no response from the Foreign Exchange and Exchange Credits Department of the Central Bank of Barbados.

Although I let the above slide, I chose this occasion to respond to an article carried in this newspaper on March 31, 2022, under the caption Ocean Innovation Challenge giving thousands of dollars to Blue companies, as this bias is hiding in broad daylight.

Given the fact that the blue economy is relatively new to Barbados and the untapped potential of the ocean is vast since Barbados owns more ocean that it does land, the challenge should therefore be to the entire island.

Why are existing companies singled out to be part of the Ocean Innovation Challenge? Why have entrepreneurs and persons who have ideas not been included? How will the island develop a class of entrepreneurs if the focus is always on existing businesses?

This action is discriminatory, and it says that the ordinary man in Barbados does not have ideas that can be utilized in the creation of a blue economy, and nothing can be further from the truth.

What about the hundreds of fishermen who ply their trade off the coast of Barbados? They know the sea and the ocean better than any business that the challenge is currently offered to. Have you extended your challenge to this entrepreneurial class of Barbadians? If the offer were extended to them one can be positive that they will come up with ideas for business, but they have not been put in a position to accept any challenge.

Not even your being in a partnership with Caribbean Export can be an acceptable response as the criteria must have been agreed to by both partners. I hope this criterion will be revisited soon to be all inclusive as there must be equal opportunities for all Barbadians.

Considering the aforementioned, there is an opportunity here not only for Export Barbados but the entire government of Barbados to have a defined nondiscriminatory policy. Discrimination was the very backbone of life that was created in Barbados during slavery by an oppressive legislature. One should therefore expect that every act of government and its state own enterprises would contain a nondiscriminatory policy statement which should reference equal opportunity to all members of society. This nondiscriminatory policy which is normally used for employment. It states that persons must not be discriminated against due to their religion, class, sexual orientation, or disability.

There is no nondiscrimination clause in the new Charter of Barbados.

Perhaps, now that this issue has been brought to light, government and state-owned enterprises will operate under a nondiscriminatory policy which along with the aforementioned, include equal offerings in business opportunities.

Pressing Ahead with Digital

In December 2021 Prime Minister Mia Mottley revealed the launch of a digital bank was imminent while delivering the 16th Patrick Emmanuel Memorial Lecture, Forging a Nation Confronting New Realities. Last week SAGICOR Financial Company Limited (SFC) announced that it will establish a fully digital commercial bank come June or July 2022 through an entity called Sagicor Bank (Barbados) Limited (SBB). It is good to see the private sector stepping up to the plate to deliver on the vision which Mottley shared for Barbados in her address.

For small-island governments, the moment is now to be brave and to be strategic to build new frameworks of economic enfranchisement of our people, recognizing that we can do so not only through renewable energy but through embracing and understanding and deconstructing the power of the digital for our people to be able to … no longer be afraid of speaking and striving toward wealth creation…We need a generation of Caribbean millionaires and Caribbean billionaires if we are going to sustain these economies in our region – a generation of Caribbean young entrepreneurs that convert our particular sensibilities and approaches into billion-dollar global businesses…

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

See relevant link:

What is a neobank? Neobanks are financial institutions that give customers a cheaper alternative to traditional banks. They can be thought of as digital banks, thus having no physical branches, and offering services that traditional banks don’t.

If Sagicor’s digital bank is successful delivering on its mission, it should drastically change the cost of services for certain types of transactions in Barbados. The blogmaster is supportive of any initiative that will benefit the public. Barbados Underground has been highlighting government’s digitalization initiative as well as local fintechs making a splash in the global space.

See related links:

Of related interest, Barbadians who followed the recent budget debate learned that the National Payments System legislation and accompanying Fair Credit Reporting Act will be proclaimed on April 15, 2022 and a National Payments System Council will be in place by April 30th. The objective is to enable the new system to be in full operation by October, 2022. We wish the government well with timely implementation.

Mounting Opposition to Automarts and Supermarkets Closed on Sundays

There has been increasing chatter about the decision by government to continue with a cease to open order on Sundays affecting supermarkets and automarts. The graphs show the country has done a good job keeping COVID 19 infections down and as at 28th May 2021 the number of individuals vaccinated was reported as 77, 823 (1st dose) and 60, 139 (2nd dose).

The blogmaster is aware as a tiny island we are navigating one of the most challenging periods in our history. The saying goes that “uneasy upon the head who wears the crown” seems appropriate. Some people are concerned the virus is in the community and from everyday observation all citizens are not as diligent with mask wearing and observing COVID 19 health protocols. A rest day to pause and slow the country down may not be a bad idea. On the other hand the inability of these businesses to earn on Sundays has serious financial implications for sustainability. There is therefore a delicate balance to be maintained. All agree another shutdown would be devastating to a fragile economy.

The best response about how to proceed comes a quarter many consider has been the voice of reason in the COVID 19 din. It was the voice that warned the country government’s aggressive quarantine policy in the early days of COVID 19 was not following the science and it proved correct. It seems logical we should continue to listen to that voice.

The following is a reprint of an article to support government’s cautious directive to address how economic activity should be managed on Sundays in Barbados. Especially as it pertains to automarts and supermarkets.

Docs support Sunday restriction

Randy BennettArticle by
Randy Bennett

Published on
May 21, 2021

The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) is in full agreement with Government to keep automarts and supermarkets closed on Sundays.

BAMP president Dr Lynda Williams has maintained the need for Barbadians to be cautious as health authorities continue to try to fully vaccinate a larger percentage of the population.

Her comments have come as supermarket and automart owners continue to lobby Government to allow them to open their establishments on Sundays, with some warning that job layoffs could be on the horizon if they are not allowed to open fully.

Earlier this week president of the Petroleum Dealers Association of Barbados (PDAB) Aldo Ho-Kong-King contended that businesses were losing thousands of dollars by being forced to remain closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

Under the current COVID-19 directives, supermarkets are only allowed to open from Monday to Saturday. Gas stations can open only to sell petrol or car-related products on Sundays.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY, Dr Williams said she supported Attorney General Dale Marshall’s decision to keep Sunday off limits to most commercial activity.

She said while Barbados was doing relatively well in the fight against COVID-19, she cautioned that the situation could change very quickly.

“I will admit that from a business perspective it seems to be a bit inconsistent because they would say if other businesses are operating then why not me? But from a health perspective I can see that the less places you have for gatherings, that still matters overall.

“The reality is that we have to be careful. We are not vaccinated with both doses a significant enough part of the population that we can say that we are even approaching the kind of percentages that we would want to see vaccinated before being very relaxed. Yes people are going forward and getting their second doses but I think patience will be rewarded,” Dr Williams pointed out.

“Pay attention to what’s happening in Trinidad, pay attention to our neighbours, pay attention to what’s happening in other countries. What I want people to pay attention to is how quickly health systems can be overrun by COVID. People say it’s only five per cent of people who get COVID that need incubation…but even that is still a great burden on health systems and things like the need for oxygen, the need for ventilators, the need for beds and the need for manpower. Those are things that are very real to us, so anything that we do we need to go cautiously.”

Dr Williams also pointed to the fact that Barbados was gearing up to welcome an increased number of visitors to the island.

She said this meant the possibility of more variants being detected.

Customer Versus Carmax

The Management of CarMax, a used car company owned by McEnearney Quality INC (MQI) is being accused of selling a pre owned Kia Sportage 2000 under questionable circumstances. The sales person at CarMax sold the vehicle to the complainant as a well maintained pre owned SUV based on MQI records.


The vehicle is a Kia Sportage 2000 cc diesel 4WD A/T AC Engine# D4EA5H112253. Within the first year of purchase the vehicle would ‘hard start’ and overheat. Despite changing air, oil, diesel filters, radiator, thermostat and hose as well as all parts recommended by a mechanic the problems have persisted. In the spirit of full disclosure there was a three months warranty that expired. The running expenses to maintain the Kia even to satisfy minimum travel requirement was financially overwhelming. The frequency of hard starting and overheating eventually led to a complete breakdown. A mechanic who worked for MQI removed the faulty KIA engine last year. COVID-19 shutdowns have delayed the sourcing of parts and repairs, also MQI stocks are limited for the vehicle.

The blogmaster was supplied with a garage service document which shows that the poorly performing engine in dispute has a history of poor performance.

The matter of poor support from CarMax/MQI management to fix the mechanical problem has evolved into a more serious matter.

From documents in possession and inspection of the vehicle in question it appears CarMax officials supplied false information on documents included with the sale. The MQI document records the Engine Number as D4EA5H112253, however a mechanic has identified that the Engine Number number is D4EA9H903688 – see image below. The issue now is that the CarMax/MQI Sales Executive sold the vehicle to me as a well maintained and legitimate vehicle. The has also has implications for the owner as far as perpetrating insurance fraud.

Customer name not captured

Regrettably the customer is forced to use this forum to highlight his plight. The reasonable ask of CarMax/MQI is to do the honourable thing and give satisfaction to the CUSTOMER!

Adrian Loveridge Column – Improving Our Investment Climate

I want to return to the subject of implementing a single source website for prospective investors, especially those of a smaller scale, both from overseas and locally. Frankly, even for the most determined and tenacious, investing in Barbados remains a daunting task for virtually everyone when so much could be made easier, less time consuming and completed online.

It starts with the number of Government agencies that you are forced to deal with and in many cases their indeterminate response time. Often the delays lead to some of the required information being out-of-date, before all the requested documentation can be sourced, at any one time.

Facilitation in a timely manner is always important, but during the prolonged pandemic situation, it becomes even more critical, as foreign investors who understandably have become a rarer breed, clearly have multiple destination choices, especially in tourism.

My own thoughts are that every serious investor is granted a unique application online number with defined access, where all involved Government agencies can post verification of information and any other prerequisite requirements. It would also serve as a platform to confirm that ‘duty free’ and/or exemption of import duties, levies and VAT status had been granted to the applicants. This would help expedite customs clearance, construction or renovations, rather than risk costly delays, while the administration ‘considers’ individual or separate requests.

Most investment requires borrowed capital, so the clock starts ticking with interest payable, usually from day one, so any delays negatively affects the viability of the project.

Government has to decide that if ‘we’ really wish to project an investor friendly environment, that radical reform is needed within our existing administration and during this challenging period when many of our public servants are not fully utilized there is the perfect opportunity to effectuate reform and innovation.
It is simply not enough to give the impression that as a country, we welcome with open arms, both foreign and local investment, if the many layers of bureaucracy act as a major deterrent to inspiring entrepreneurs.

Perhaps the first step would be to glean first- hand experience from the people who have already transformed their dream into a business reality and fully evaluate the current impediments.

After all, Government coffers are greatly enhanced from the very moment that an investor commits to a venture through the collection of various taxes and levies on property purchase including stamp duty, transfer tax, non-recoverable VAT on legal and advisory fees etc.
In our particular case, over $400,000 was paid to the state recently for the completion of a sale to new owners.

Peter Odle Under the Gun

A dispute involving Irish investor Alan McIntosh and other parties with local hotelier Peter Odle continues to be a source of embarrassment for Barbadians and makes public what ordinary Barbadians have been complaining about for many years. We have a court system that is broken and a ‘buddy system’ that protects the favoured in society. In local parlance, two Barbadoses.

The two political parties come and the two political parties go and the problem remains.

See other blogs posted on a dispute which continues to expose our moribund court system and to dent our reputation as a domicile fit and proper to conduct international business. This imbroglio is occurring as Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been promoting the Barbados Welcome Stamp – Work Remotely in Barbados initiative in the international media. It should not be forgotten that attracting foreign direct investment is important to the economic planners to ensure we can honour foreign commitments.

Alan McIntosh dubbed by Barbados Underground as that pesky Irish investor has written a second letter to the Prime Minister of Barbados which encapsulates in summary detail the dysfunctional governance setup and toxic business ethos prevailing in Barbados. The letter separates the issues for the Prime Minister’s under the headings – Court Delay Tactics, Corporate Governance and Abuse of Personal Relationships to Circumvent Creditors.

It is clear from reading the letter that Attorney General Dale Marshall is also aware of the ongoing dispute that threatens to compromise Barbados’ economic recovery effort. In an Affidavit filed with the Barbados court, Abagi Ekoku who is a shareholder in Sandy Bay Holdings Inc (SBHI) named as First Defendant in the pending court matter, explains how a repurchase agreement with Richard Bradford and Peter Odle has gone south and precipitated litigious action.

Clause 23 extracted from the Affidavit sworn by Agagi Ekoku:

On Monday the 10th day of February, 2020, pursuant legal advice which I received from my Attorney-at-Law, I wrote to the Attorney General of Barbados, the Hon. D. Marshall, Q.C., MP. I requested acknowledgement of my aforementioned letter from the office of the Attorney General and received the acknowledgement on the same date from Hazel Mederick, the executive secretary to the Attorney General. To date, I have not received a response to my letter. True copies of the email/letter dated 10th day of February, 2020 and the acknowledgment of the same date are hereto attached and marked “AE3”.

Extracted from the Affidavit of Abagi Ekoku

It pains the blogmaster no end each time a blog of this type is posted which shines a light at the underbelly of Barbados. The upside is that it is being done with the aim of making Barbados a better country for ALL.

Barbadians should be reminded of an Irish saying – May the enemies of Ireland never meet a friend..

A Pesky Irish International Investor

The following article appears in the Business Section of the the Independent dated 13 September 2020, a newspaper based in Ireland where Prime Minister Mia Mottley was also reported promoting business opportunities between Barbados and Ireland.

Readers will recall two earlier blogs posted to Barbados Underground which highlighted a matter that has reached the Barbados Courts between Irish businessman Alan McIntosh and local businessman Peter Odle which has been in abeyance in the court system since 2008..

See following links:

It makes any sensible person wonder what is the point of expending so much effort and resources to sell Barbados as an international business centre and because of a dysfunctional court system; one that is perceived to be manipulated, potential returns are nullified. Based on the notification from the Supreme Court of Barbados the case is set down to be heard on the 26 January 2021 at 9:30AM. We know this is no guarantee the matter will be heard given the long arm of influence by some in our country.

See article in the Independent newspaper.

Cairn Homes founder warns investors about Barbados

The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown
The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown

September 13 2020 02:30 AMAlan McIntosh, a founder of Cairn Homes and Emerald Investments, has sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Barbados in which he advised people not to invest in Barbados.

The investor wrote the letter after Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley appeared in a Business Post article looking to increase economic links between Ireland and her country. She also appeared on Irish radio to talk about a “work from Barbados” scheme.

Copies of the letter were sent to others, including Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

McIntosh made a $2.5m investment in Barbados three years ago. He ended up in a dispute with one of the shareholders in the project, Peter Ogle, starting legal action in 2018.

In the letter, seen by Ergo, McIntosh wrote that he has been waiting “almost three years” for the matter to be heard.

Of investing in Barbados, McIntosh wrote: “I am an Irish investor who invested in Barbados, and I wish I’d never done so. Unless changes are made to the legal system in Barbados, I would urge no one to invest in Barbados, either commercially or to buy a condo, holiday home or even take a holiday there. Why? The legal system is not fit for foreign investment or even to settle minor disputes in a timely manner.”

Later in the letter, he wrote: “I have waited for the court system to allow me due process, and after almost three years have seen no progress in the courts whatsoever.

“My advice to anyone contemplating investing in Barbados is: ‘Do not Do It’.”

Barbados didn’t respond to a request for comment.

CIBC (First Caribbean International Bank) Accused of Oppressive Behaviour

CIBC (First Caribbean International Bank) is again accused of oppressive behaviour by an average Bajan citizen. In a sixteen year long dispute between the McIntosh Vs CIBC the family has turned to social media, AGAIN, to seek justice in the court of public opinion.

Marketing for Hoteliers on Small Islands

Andrew Nehaul

Submitted by Andrew Nehaul

As the covid-19 outbreak begins to subside and countries start to reopen, the big questions for hoteliers on island destinations are:


  1. How will my clients get to the destination? Which airlines will survive and continue to fly and under what conditions?
  2. News reports state that clients in major countries no longer trust travel agents/tour operators to book their holidays as many did not or would not repay deposits and payments made by consumers.

The answer to the first is simply to wait and see as many large airlines are in deep financial crisis.

However if I were an hotelier I would take a strategic approach and to the second try to get as many clients as possible to book directly with me when the airlines begin to fly. Below are some suggestions.

Ensure that your website is updated with large and beautiful pictures of my property and make sure that clients can book and pay online without problems. Moreover, in the first year I would offer a convenient and liberal approach to booking changes and/or cancellations. If your website is not modern, I would suggest getting a new one. Today you can get this done for not more than USD 500. Follow the trends and see to it that your site is picturesque, choose a server that is 99.9% reliable and please check constantly for any broken links.

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Having designed many websites with over 280 pages per site I am knowledgeable of what is necessary and where one can find the best IT companies to produce them. In addition, sites must be created for easy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as this is far cheaper than Pay per click (PPC) marketing.

Social media
Social media is the cheapest form of marketing today and should be used extensively. A great way to attract interest is short stories, videos, news of your hotel or destination, interesting recipes, competitions etc The more you post, the better it is for you.

Facebook: I would see to it that my Facebook page is relevant and also use data from my old hotel registration cards and set up a Facebook advertising account to target my potential clientele.

Instagram: The same policy as Facebook but also put out as many pictures of the hotel as possible interlaced with pictures of the destination and local tourism related hashtags to influence people to my pages.

Note that this is an excellent time for young entrepreneurs who are wizards with social media to create a business by selling their services to the hotel industry. All they need is a smart phone.

Clients who are researching travel and come across your hotel, want to contact the hotel in advance with any questions they may have. PLEASE! Do not only list a reservation email. See to it that you have another email for queries and ensure that you reply promptly to their mails. The best is to use Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp or other video services. They are free and in this time of clients wanting answers immediately, you will win. A client sitting in their office or at home in Manhattan, Boston, London or Stuttgart and being able to contact you immediately online at no cost – is GOLD.

The most frustrating thing about many small hotels is that some of them never put prices on their site but want clients to book anyhow. If you would put yourself in a client’s shoes, you then would ask yourself if you would do this. If not you, why them?

When it comes to prices, forget your competition and do what is best for you. Put your prices out and make creative offers by adding consumer value to your prices. For example if clients book directly, you can offer them for example – return airport transfers or a 3 course dinner or an island tour or a round of golf. In the slow months offer more.

Create a niche
If you do a search for Barbados Hotels on Google, Tripadvisor and booking.com lists the 10 top hotels in Barbados or the best hotels in Barbados or all inclusive hotels in Barbados. If you are too small to rate in these categories why not create your own niche with a website title like “The best personal service – Barbados” or “On the best beach in Barbados” or “Best value in Barbados” or “Stay & play,  sea & sun –  Barbados” or “Best Barbados holiday” or “Best couples hotel – Barbados” or “More than just a family hotel – Barbados” or “Singles welcome – Barbados” or “Best honeymoon hotel – Barbados” .

Plant a flower for Barbados! Stay with us and bring seeds from your favourite flower and plant them. We will put your name on a plaque, nurture the plant and send you pictures as it grows. The island will love it and you can do a small part for the environment.  When you return, we will add your picture with the flower to our Facebook page.

Clients from Europe who travel to the Caribbean usually awake early as they have not acclimatized as yet since as the Caribbean is 5 to 6 hours behind their home time.  In most cases the hotel restaurants open from 7 am. A well appreciated gesture is to offer coffee/tea and freshly baked local pastries from 5 am in the lobby.

Finally, training! Take this opportunity to train your staff to ensure that they provide 110% service for clients. The next few months/years will be tough and it is important that guests not only feel welcome at your hotel but feel a bond to the hotel and staff.

Once a client books, keep in touch. Make them feel that they are important to you.

Be warned though. Ask before sending anything. One hotel learned the hard way after they sent a postcard to Mr & Mrs Smith thanking them for their stay that Mrs Smith knew nothing about the trip. It turned out that it was not the wife who travelled but the secretary!

Barbadians, ALL Together NOW!

…The discussion must turn to how can we run a country on 25% less revenue than planned over the next 2 years. It does not have to come to layoffs either. It can come from improved tax collection, greater efficiency etc. It does not have to be a case of just “sending home people”…

BU Commenter: John A

What has has been weighing on the blogmaster’s mind in recent weeks you ask?

In light of the Covid 19 pandemic most economies in the world have been negatively affected whether service based, commodity driven or combination of the two. The result is that citizens will have to make sacrifices until ‘normalcy’ is achieved. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable people in society – the indigent and sick.

The 500 million dollar projected shortfall in government’s budget as a consequence of the prevailing adverse economic conditions is a reality not many Barbadians have come to grips if one listens to public discussion. Made more acute the country is suffering from economic fatigue after a severe debt restructure and a decade or more of economic wutlessness.

Obviously government has a moral obligation to find ways to keep workers employed. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that changes – especially if unplanned – to the tax base will negatively impact revenues therefore compromising government’s financial obligations to pay for public goods and services.

Government’s ability to collect taxes is also affected by a performing private sector. If the private sector contracts for any reason by shutting down businesses or sending home workers, contributions to government’s tax/NIS revenues will adversely impact finances. Covid 19 has created the perfect challenge for all governments including Barbados.

Having mentioned the economic and fiscal hurdles facing the country, it is easy to forget the social challenges that have inevitably resulted to make governing more complex.

The country is currently embroiled in a discussion about the details of how the proposed Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) will be implemented. The success of BOSS and other fiscal measures are simply that, short term. If the global economy is lazy to respond to recovery it means SIDs like Barbados will have big problems as it burns cash in hand (reserves) to pay salaries and other unsustainable activities to maintain a reasonable standard of living.  More and more rehashed commentary about how successive governments have built the economy on sand, encourage covert corruption and fuelled a culture of political patronage or a country living above its means will surface. This will make for good political discussion, however, does not make for constructive debate in the unprecedented climate we find ourselves.

The lengthy preamble to the thesis is – as a people are we capable of pivoting from the type of vacuous national discourse we have become accustomed to be replaced by one that is apropos?

A good place to start is to work at disrupting old thought patterns that encourage same old same outcomes. Easier said than done but is must be done if we are to survive as a nation out here in the global rat race.

…Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country…

John F. Kennedy



Barbados Economy: Growth, the Next Chapter

The Barbados economy must grow and many have been asking where is the growth plan. At a recent Barbados Chamber of Commerce luncheon the prime minister identified several private and public sector projects expected to fuel economic activity in the short term. The Nation newspaper editor has done a fair job capturing what the prime minister shared last week.

Projects_BCCI_Nation _newspaper

IDB Highlights Barbados’ Crumbling Infrastructure

The IDB Caribbean Region Quarterly Bulletin: Volume 8, Issue 3: September 2019 was recently released and the review of Barbados is found at page 7 of the report.

The conclusion of the report:

Underpinning growth constraints in Barbados is the need to invest in infrastructure. The worsening quality of infrastructure indicators reflects an aging capital stock and declining infrastructure investments. Given the country’s fiscal stance and economic reform program, new investments will likely remain constrained in the next few years. The calls for the support of other investment modalities, such as PPPs. Further promoting resilience in infrastructure investments will also be of the utmost importance given the country’s vulnerabilities to climate change and natural disasters.

Sagicor and Scotiabank Signal the Caribbean Market

The blogmaster received several messages yesterday from members of the BU family whicch highlighted two financial transactions choking local, regional and some internation newsfeeds.

The decision by Scotiabank to shed operations in nine Caribbean islands should hardly be a surprise to those who make it a business to keep ears to the ground. The region has become a hot mess regarding the state of economies and with de-risking high on the agenda of financial institutions the risk appetite of international banks operating in the region has reached an intolerable level. At some point in the future they will completely withdraw from a region to focus on bigger markets.

The acquisition of Sagicor shares by Canadian company Alignvest for 536 million dollars- reportedly to create the opportunity to efficiently raise capital by listing in a more liquid market to drive growth is the other mega transaction closed this week. The following statement by Sagicor’s Chief Operating Officer Ravi Rambarran about how regional stock exchanges operate is instructive:-

At the same time, our stock markets in the Caribbean are very thin and very illiquid. We saw just last week Friday someone sold 700 Sagicor sales out of 306.3 million shares and drove the price down to about USD1.00 That means all the other shareholders who have their stock had to value their stock at this price. That is a reflection of our stock market being very thin and very illiquid.

We look forward to a debate led by our educated class to inform a general public who are in the main disinterested and ignorant about these kinds of transaction. A shame!

Fault Lines: Life, Debt, Default and a Failure to Invest

The following blogs authored by a young Barbadian Economist Simon Naitram who is currently an assistant lecturer at the University of the West Indies while pursuing a PhD from the University of Glasgow (featured image: Simon Naitram)

  • David, Barbados Underground

Life, debt, and now default. Barbados has reached the final stage of its illness. This isn’t our sob story. This is the tale of how we got here. This post isn’t a eulogy—it’s a lesson, a warning to our future selves.

The reason the government has defaulted on the country’s public debt is simple: the government just doesn’t have enough money to both keep paying back its loans and keep the country’s services running. The government chose to keep the country running.

How did the government reach this breaking point? Did the government simply borrow more than it could repay? The economics of government debt aren’t that simple. The government might have borrowed too much—it certainly made some bad financial decisions—but that’s not the real economic story.

The underlying economic mistake leading to default is that our government did not invest. It’s not that we spent too much money. Instead it’s that we spent our money on the wrong things. For a decade we did not invest in a brighter future. Nodebtw that we’ve reached that future, it’s a dark and miserable place.

A government’s debt is measured relative to how rich its people are. Bill Gates borrowing a million dollars isn’t the same as me borrowing a million dollars. The richer we the people are, the more money the government gets from taxing us. A 20% tax on $100 gives the government way more revenue than a 20% tax on $20.

Read full textLife, Debt, and Default

Barbados’ giant economic hole is entirely of our own making. Our distress stems from one fatal flaw: we do not invest.

Let me make it plain. Investment in new businesses, new technologies, and new ideas is the only way to generate sustainable economic growth. Economic growth is not just an economist’s foolish cravings. Economic growth is the only path to prosperity. Investment is needed for economic growth, and without economic growth, we perish.

Why is it that we don’t invest? What can we do to fix this fatal flaw?

The first problem is that we save only 13.6% of our income. The rest of the world saves 23.1% of its income. Our savings are paltry in comparison to the investment hole we need to fill. We simply don’t put aside enough money for our businesses to invest.

And yet, commercial banks don’t want our cash. They offer us a ridiculous 0.05% interest rate on our savings. Why? In 1990, the banks lent 68% of our savings to businesses. Lending to businesses is risky, but it is productive investment that generates high returns and grows the economy. In 2018, the banks have lent only 28% of our savings to businesses! Banks have stopped channeling our funds into productive economic activity—which is in fact their one job.

Read full textFailure to Invest

Is the BSE Regulated?

This really is not acceptable. Is the FSC in a position to address these issues?




The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. (BSE) wishes to advise that trading in the security – Barbados Dairy Industries Limited – has been suspended until further notice effective November 20th, 2018 pursuant to Rule 3.01.5 1(a) and (b) of the Rules of the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc.

The Barbados Stock Exchange Inc. (BSE) wishes to advise that trading in the security –




Banks Holdings Limited – has been suspended until further notice effective November 20th, 2018 pursuant to Rule 3.01.5 1(a) and (b) of the Rules of the Barbados Stock Exchange Inc.


Related Link: Trading Report 21 Nov 2018

Time to Build Barbados Silicon Valley

Four transformational truths are Timing, Innovation, Strategy and CollaborationThe Elements of Transformation Strategy

There is the proven that individuals and businesses who continually adapt to the environment in which they operate will likely succeed. If we try to fit how the local public sector has been managing its business compared to the private sector and the world it gives currency to the use of the word anachronistic. Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been a frequent user of the word of late.

Unfortunately as part of government’s objective to modernize processes in the public sector, hundreds of low level, low skilled workers have been retrenched. Understandably concerned Barbadians have inquired why send home workers from the bottom if the exercise is about cutting cost? We have to protect the most vulnerable and we will be holding the government to its word that BERT has an adequate safety net included.

Honest Barbadians will admit  however if the public service is to operate efficiently in the current environment there must be a job redesign. We have listened to successive governments braying about improving business facilitation. It is not the fault of the workers although the blogmaster will suggest this is where trade unions- the workers representative- have failed in the last 25 years to strategically add value to the process of nation building.

It is an indictment on the leadership of Barbados that in 2018 government departments still record transactions in ledgers- documents still require the ‘lick’ of a stamp. The blogmaster supports the requirement to urgently transform from the analogue to the digital. Leveraging technology to efficiently deliver services is a no-brainer.  What is difficult to understand is how come successive Barbados governments have invested billions in education per capita and lag scores of other countries that have expended less!

During a recent press conference Sir Hiliary and Eudine Barriteau of the University of the West Indies (UWI) highlighted that the regional university was ranked 591 out of the 1,258 in the  Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. Of interest is that both of them touched on the ‘technology and innovation park‘ which is promised to open in Bridgetown in January 2019.

In the link provided we are informed the facility will house classes to support a Bsc. Software Engineering degree programme and also technology start-up bushiness to conduct research and development in conjunction with students at the UWI. She also revealed that talks have started with Gabriel Abed of Bitt Inc about supporting new tech start ups.  Beckles also shared this is being done with the cooperation of Chinese Universities.

In BU’s most recent blog – Senator Rawdon Adams Sobering Intervention in the Debt Restructure Debate  Adams asked what kind of Barbados do we need to build now that we have dismantled what was to deliver on the kind of life we want (words to this effect).
Barrow presided over an agrarian economy, Tom Adams shifted to a mix of agrarian and services and Owen Arthur went the whole hog by switching out to a services economy. Given the suspicion how the world views jurisdictions that provide services for international business companies there is clearly an urgent requirement to incorporate new business lines to diversify and hopefully spur economic growth. Feedback so far is that the RERE programme is only a baby step in the right direction, it has to go a lot further.  Making Bridgetown a smart city is a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) manifesto promise. Ronald Jones had responsibility for Human Development and innovation. What was achieved in this regard is not worth mentioning. Pushing more ‘coding‘ in schools is a national imperative.
Although mentioning China is a hot button word for many- a hegemonist is a hegemonist- a look at how it has been integrating technology to create opportunities for its people is instructive.


What the Government of Barbados Needs to Do to Get Fintech Right

The following was posted by Niel Harper to his blog, a technology SME – David, Barbados Underground

There’s a common misconception that IT governance, risk and control (GRC) professionals like myself impose unreasonable demands on those trying to innovate and deliver human, social and economic benefits to society. But this is the furthest thing from the truth – our role is to ensure that those who are delivering technological solutions understand the risks and impacts associated with their IT platforms, and mitigate them in an adequate, effective, and sustainable manner.

The aforementioned point is key as I will go on to explore the privacy, security, and socio-economic implications of two recent announcements by the Government of Barbados pertaining to the implementation of Blockchain-related technology in the country. In a September 19th article titled ‘E-currency pilot coming’, it was stated that Prime Minister Mia Mottley “did not give details of the planned mobile wallet pilot project or when it would begin but gave the assurance that it would not be done in a reckless manner.” Barbados Today published an article on September 25th which stated ‘BSE to begin crypto-trading’, essentially heralding the decision of the Barbados Stock Exchange to trade in security tokens or crypto assets.

Given my intimate knowledge of privacy and security weaknesses in both the public and private sectors, the PM’s words do not instill in me any great confidence around the robustness of the security controls that will accompany these projects. The implementation of e-currency is a complex undertaking, that if not done correctly, can have a material impact on the country’s already weakened economic position. Security tokens are an extremely nascent solution with a lot of potential, but that doesn’t exempt them from security and privacy deficiencies. As such, I want to delve into some of the key areas that must be addressed before these solutions are widely deployed across our beloved nation.

Contract management and due diligence

Before any contracts are signed to commence these projects, the government must understand where personal data of Barbadian citizens will be stored. To provision users onto these platforms, personal data will need to be collected for AML and KYC purposes such as name, address, phone number, driver’s license, passport details, etc.

If the data is stored outside of Barbados, the privacy of Bajans may not be safeguarded as it will be subject to the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction in which the data resides (meaning that the legislation of a foreign country could permit them access to any and all data kept on Barbadian citizens). This is particularly concerning given the absence of data protection legislation in Barbados that would force any fintech company to ensure that transnational data flows must only occur where the destination country has an adequate legal framework in place to protect the rights of data subjects.

The lack of data protection legislation presents another problem in terms of imposing strict obligations on fintech providers to uphold the rights of data subjects. This includes setting requirements and fines for both data controllers and data processors as it pertains to protecting personal and sensitive data, obtaining consent to share personal/sensitive data, reporting data breaches to government and data subjects, among other rules. Hence, it would be in the best interests of Barbados citizens and foreign nationals if the 2018 Data Protection Bill was enacted into law before the launch of the new platforms.

In an ideal situation, the government should obtain 2-3 references from previous instances where the contracted parties have deployed solutions of this kind for other customers. However, it appears that Barbados will be the first country where the vendor will be deploying a ‘true’ e-currency platform, thus making the need for strong controls even more critical. As it pertains to tokenized securities, similar due diligence must be undertaken to protect our citizens.

The government must ensure that a qualified and independent security professional conducts a site visit to the vendors’ facilities to undertake a thorough assessment of their security controls. If this cannot be done, the vendor should be required to furnish government with a signed attestation from an independent and qualified third party that the facilities meet all the necessary best practice security requirements. Additionally, there should be a “right to audit” clause in the contract that allows the government to turn up at the vendors’ facilities at any time to conduct a security assessment.

The vendors’ financial statements should be reviewed by an independent auditing firm such as PwC, EY or Deloitte to ensure that they are in good standing and that they are able to remain going concerns for the foreseeable future. The viability of their business models should also be assessed as ‘feasible’. This would protect the country and its citizens from being left at the mercy of fintech service providers whose platforms enjoy massive uptake and integration into the socio-economic fabric of the country, and then they are quickly no longer in business.

With regards to PwC, EY, Deloitte, and other accounting firms (or any qualified professional services firm as a matter of fact), government should enlist one of them to have experienced IT auditors assigned full-time to both projects. This would ensure that IT governance, risk and control processes are embedded throughout the project lifecycles and don’t become an afterthought.

Another area of due diligence is assessment of the team who will be delivering and supporting the solutions. The government must obtain assurance that the right mix of skills is available to deliver and provide ongoing support for high performance, scalable and secure fintech platforms. Along with the technical positions, key roles that should be in place are Internal Audit (assurance), Privacy (compliance) and Information Security (availability, integrity and confidentiality).

Finally, a software escrow agreement that allows government access to the vendor’s proprietary code in the event they go out of business should be put into place.

Technical architecture

Undertaking a technical architecture assessment is critical to implementing both these projects. Once again, independent and qualified 3rd parties need to look at how the different elements of these platforms will integrate with each other and how they will be secured against cyber-attacks. A number of the questions that the selected fintech service providers need to answer and verify are as follows:

  • How will web and application servers be hardened against attacks?
  • How will database systems be hardened against malicious actors?
  • How will operating systems be hardened and secured from hackers?
  • How will identity and access management (IAM) be delivered to manage privileged access to these platforms?
  • Will middleware and APIs have built-in authentication mechanisms?
  • Will all data transmitted over public networks be encrypted?
  • What encryption schemes will be used to protect sensitive data in storage?
  • Will network devices such as routers and switches be hardened and utilize strong authentication mechanisms?
  • Will there be separate firewall tiers to isolate and protect servers with higher risk profiles?
  • How will administrators and developers securely access the platforms remotely?
  • How strong will the controls be around disaster recovery/business continuity?
  • Will online or offline wallets be used and how will they be secured (e.g. passwords, passphrases, two-factor authentication, biometrics, etc.)?
  • How are mobile applications designed with security in mind (e.g. storage, communication, authentication, cryptography, etc.)?
  • How are web applications designed with security in mind (e.g. input/data validation, authentication, authorization, storage, communication, cryptography, etc.)?
  • Will private or public Blockchains be used? How will the Blockchain, smart contracts and related elements be secured?
  • If fintech companies are using cloud services, how are issues like multi-tenancy, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, breach notification, malicious insiders, etc. being addressed?
  • How will integration with external systems be secured?

These questions and others need to be satisfactorily answered before these fintech solutions become live. A technical architecture review should be conducted to set a baseline of expectations with regards to the final solution. Bringing trusted, independent cybersecurity experts to the table will ensure that they are no controls gaps in the end-state architecture.


Testing is one of the best phases in software development to flesh out security issues. Hence, this is where government needs to double down on its due diligence. Below are a couple of questions that government should be asking and receiving answers/evidence for:

  • How are code repositories being used and secured?
  • What processes and tools are used to manage version control and to promote code from testing to live environments? Are these tools fit for purpose?
  • What secure coding standards are being used by developers and what tools are being used to force adherence to these standards?
  • How are static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST) being employed?
  • How are source code analyzers being used to detect security weaknesses in both non-compiled and compiled code?
  • Will stress testing be conducted to ensure the system design and resources can support transaction volumes?
  • Are dynamic scanners being used to simulate attacks during the quality assurance (QA) cycle?
  • Have threat modeling and risk assessment been conducted on the end-to-end solutions? Has an independent party verified the results?
  • Does the test environment mimic the production environment as much as possible?
  • Will an independent security architecture review be performed on the system before it goes live? Will all the material weaknesses found be remediated before the solutions go live?
  • Will independent penetration tests (externally looking inwards) and vulnerability scans (internally looking outward) be performed on the system before it goes live? Will all the material weaknesses found be remediated before the solutions go live?
  • What security-related scenarios will be included in user acceptance testing (UAT) or closed user group (CUG) testing (e.g. input/data validation, password quality rules, repudiation, roles-based access controls, path traversal, missing authorization, error handling, privilege elevation, etc.)?
  • What levels of audit logs are generated by the systems? Are audit logs properly secured?

The testing phase provides an opportunity to iron out most of the security issues before the live solution is released to the public. The importance of this stage should not be underestimated, and government must ensure that they are fully engaged and involved throughout.

Deployment and ongoing support

Deployment and ongoing support will be integral to delivering a truly disruptive fintech solution to the citizens of Barbados. Of course, the first step is deploying the exact system configuration that was thoroughly assessed and remediated during the architecture and testing phases. This can’t be emphasized enough – You don’t want to deploy a system full of security vulnerabilities. That being said, there are a number of questions relevant to supporting the environment on an ongoing basis:

  • What processes will be in place for identity and access management? How will day-to-day access for normal users and super users of the systems be managed (e.g. granting, revoking, and updating access)?
  • How will secure configurations be maintained throughout the system lifecycles (e.g. mobile security, desktop hardening, server hardening, switch and router hardening, etc.)?
  • What processes/solutions will be in place for managing system vulnerabilities?
  • What processes/solutions will be in place for managing system upgrades and patches?
  • What processes/solutions will be in place for making changes to production systems?
  • How will production systems be monitored for performance issues, normal and privileged account usage, network intrusions, unauthorized file changes, access to restricted systems, etc.?
  • How will malware be addressed on production systems (e.g. cloud services, virtual guests, servers, mobiles, etc.)?
  • How will security awareness for end-users of the systems be addressed (especially given that the intention is for the mobile wallet to be deployed widely to the public)?
  • What processes and systems will be in place for disaster recovery/business continuity?
  • How will government ensure that the right legal framework is in place to protect the country and its citizens (e.g. anti-money laundering, taxation, consumer protection, privacy, critical infrastructure protection, etc.)? NOTE: The legal framework is already deficient and they’re going forward with the project(s).
  • Who will be supporting the production systems on an ongoing basis – government or the fintech companies? Will there be sufficient knowledge transfer to government personnel if they are tasked with ongoing support and maintenance?
  • Has there been detailed assessment of ongoing costs? Will these costs be borne by the fintech provider or government? If by the fintech provider, what’s the business model that will be in place to sustain their operation in a profitable manner? If by the government, are the right staff in place to support and maintain the platform? Will the overall cost burden undertaken by government be sustainable (especially given the country’s existing financial situation)?

Monitoring and evaluation

For any system implementation to be truly successful, there must be a plan for realization of the benefits articulated at the beginning of the project. Here are some of the key questions to be answered:

  • What does success look like?
  • How will success be measured?
  • Will success metrics be shared with the public (they should be when taking into consideration the levels of risk and investment in these projects)?
  • Are the projects delivered on time and within budget?
  • Have technical objectives been achieved?
  • Have financial objectives been achieved?
  • Are socio-economic benefits being realized by the population?
  • Have human behaviors changed in terms of the use of mobile payments?
  • Has the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) become more liquid? Has there been a significant uptick in foreign direct investment (FDI) via the BSE? Are we seeing more security tokens being traded on the BSE?
  • Are there less underbanked or unbanked individuals in the country? Have financial inclusion statistics improved? Is the common man less burdened by the cost of banking? Is it now easier to send money overseas (money transfers) or send money back to Barbados (remittances)?
  • Has government reduced the costs of funding the fiat monetary system?
  • Have the substantial risks associated with correspondent bank de-risking been mitigated?

These questions and more need to be answered once the systems go live. More importantly, a benefits realization/monitoring & evaluation (M&E) plan needs to be in place up front. The government and its fintech partner should not be deciding what needs to be achieved and measured once the systems go live – these benefits should be stated up front to convey the value proposition and return on investment (ROI) for the systems, and to support the level of investment and risks undertaken.


These projects represent significant benefits for the country. Conversely, they also represent significant risks. I am not against technology; I have spent the last 10 years of my life committed to facilitating the use of ICTs for development (ICT4D) in emerging economies. However, I am of the firm belief that citizens have a right to know exactly what their leaders are getting them into (i.e. openness and transparency are of utmost importance). It is my hope that government will engage in a more transparent process as it pertains to the planned implementations of Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT). Moreover, if fintech is being done, it needs to be done RIGHT. One of the most basic, yet important, tenets of information systems auditing is “TRUST, BUT VERIFY”. All of the questions I have posed deserve answers. Not only answers, but verifiable evidence. Government is not known for strong expertise in IT law, policy and regulation; systems development; and cybersecurity. This is why the citizenry of Barbados cannot be expected to abide by only trust as it pertains to the implementation of Blockchain technologies across the country. The potential benefits, and the risks, are way too high!


Niel Harper is a highly experienced, results-focused and globally recognized technology leader with 20+ years of sustained achievement in IT governance, risk and control (GRC), cybersecurity, telecoms engineering, application development, IT service management, enterprise architecture, and business continuity management. He has held leadership positions at organizations such as AT&T Wireless, Bermuda Commercial Bank, CARICOM Secretariat, CIBC, Internet Society and the Sint Maarten Telephone Group of Companies. He has also delivered consulting engagements in 20+ countries with organizations such as Bemol Lojas, European Union, First Global Bank, and LEX Caribbean, among others. He is a Member of the Expert Networks on Cybersecurity, Telecoms and IT at the World Economic Forum and a Member of the Research Advisory Group (RAG), Technical and Information Security at the Global Commission for the Stability of Cyberspace.

Prime Minister Mottley Talks Digital @BITT Conference

Today’s speech by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the Bitt Conference is one that we would never have heard under the former government. The disruptive explosion of Fintechs across the globe is well documented – the race to transform Barbados from an analogue to digital space finds Barbados playing catchup.

Many will criticize the prime minister for daring to assume risk by integrating emerging technology into the way we do business in Barbados. The blogmaster commends her leadership to digitally transform Barbados. The reality is that we have to or continue to slide to the bottom of the pile on the indices which log competitiveness.  It is noteworthy that in the sub region the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has rolled out a blockchain pilot with Bitt Inc.


The Digital Age, Cryptocurrencies

Submitted by nineofnine


The question to ask, does it meet the criteria for currency value and worth? As it stands, the pillars of currency must have as principles, three intrinsic values

1. Function ….as a medium of exchange throughout the economic landscape.
2. Carries value and vault potential or Store of Value.
3. Possesses units of value.

The intrinsic value and medium of exchange must have the potential and attributes to endure time and space and must stand strong throughout economic activity. Its value and vault potential lies in the ability to facilitate quantifiable amounts in safe, accessible storage over extended periods of time and ability to trade and invest.  As far as unit of value/account is concerned, it must carry transactional ability to be applied to all areas of financial and economic sectors.

Where FIAT CURRENCIES capabilities carry the medium of exchange and units of value (1 & 3), it is devoid of STORE OF VALUE (SoV) (2), … because of its LOW stock to flow ratio. That is, the amount of money that is in circulation (stock) and (Flow) which eludes to the production of NEW or the future printing of its currency units. What this all means is, that fiat money can be easily printed at whims fancy and with that, comes a LOW stock of flow and LOW value or the creation of “easy money”.

On the other hand, CRYPTOCURRENCIES, having all characteristics and value attributes of “HARD MONEY” carries a HIGH VALUE.

Why… ?

1. It is a medium of exchange. It has the ability to be exchanged in secured peer to peer encrypted channels devoid of Governmental/Institutional regulation which might change to satisfy consumer trust. Monitored and transactionally balanced and recorded by Blockchains, a public validating ledger of records undertaken by those referred to as MINERS.

  1. CRYPTOCURRENCIES carries a high STOCK TO FLOW ratio as it cannot produce units as easily as Fiat currencies.. Its storage is facilitated outside normal channels in encrypted form. Access is through fortified gateways as some would determine “uncompromisable VAULTS”
  2. Built on the premise of building units-blocks to garner ONE unit of currency making it harder to produce, hence creating its HIGH VALUE and WORTH.
    The RARER the asset, the more “high-value” it carries.

MASS PRODUCTION of any currency ultimately devalues its worth. History showed that the ancient system that used seashells was replaced because of demands of the industrial age by MINTED METALS, then came GOLD to to back FIAT cash, now to CRYPTOCURRENCIES that is revolutionizing the financial and economic space. Large Corporate entities are now investing in Crypto and in their portfolios, even Governments are moving in similar direction incorporating “the new digital age”.

Gold has a high store of value but it flow side cannot exceed 2.6% of store, creating a “hardness” or supply, which really is due to hoarding supply and maintaining value.
“cash for gold exercise stores up the supply of gold”.

ENTER THE BITCON (leader in cryptocurrencies).
Bitcoin the “hardest” asset to secure to date presents real value per coin. As at August 2018 its worth stands $9000+ falling from a previous high of $16000.+ late 2017. Will it rebound?

Gold per standard unit (oz), $1200+. Cryptos’ inability to be mass produced creates a fixed supply, halving its ratio  ever four years unlike Gold.

As more and more “Stakeholders” of economies garner momentum on investments and startup enterprises, mutual funds, pension funds, 401ks, IRA markets and other large financial markets etc. becomes target sectors for advancement of Crupyo.

Crypto is set to take strong root and presence in economic affairs and its landscape. Of note: ICE (Intercontinental Exchange), which owns The NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (NYSE) announced a planned launch of an open and regulated Global ecosystem platform for digital assets. Likewise Germany is on a similar note to establish a multilateral trading platform for cryptocurrencies.

WooCommerce, facilitators of one third of all e-Commerce stores has integrated an e-Payments plugin by Coinbase for an digital epayments cart/checkout.

Indices/indicators are looking positive for growth.  Note that any investment carries risks of lost or gain. http://newdigitaleconomies.com

ICBL Receives Declination with Disgorgement

Credit to The FCPA Blog

Barbados insurance company receives declination with disgorgement

The Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) received a declination with disgorgement from the DOJ Thursday for FCPA offenses related to bribing a Barbadian official.

Under the terms of the declination pursuant to the DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy, ICBL paid the DOJ about $93,900 in disgorged profits.

The DOJ said agents and employees of the Barbados-headquartered company paid around $36,000 to a Barbadian government official, Donville Inniss, in exchange for $686,000 worth of insurance contracts.

Inness was a member of the parliament of Barbados and the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commence, and Small Business Development at the time.

The DOJ said Inness laundered the money in the United States through a New York-based dental company owned by his friend.

The DOJ gave ICBL credit for its timely and voluntary self-disclosure, thorough investigation, and remediation through firing of the individuals involved, among other factors.

ICBL is the first declination with disgorgement under the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy (pdf) that went into effect in November 2017.

The new policy made the FCPA Pilot Program permanent and incorporated it, with some changes, into the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual.


Harry Cassin, pictured above, is the managing editor of the FCPA Blog.

Garment Industry Lacks Quality Control

Submitted by Wayne Cadogan,
Retired Garment Manufacturer, Trainer, Consultant

This article has pained me in more ways than one to write to see where Barbados has come from as a garment export manufacturing country to the manufacturing of garbage in terms of producing high-quality garments. Back in the day as far back as in 1983, Barbados had over seventy-nine knowledgeable garment manufacturers and a workforce of over fourteen thousand workers employed in the industry.

Most garment factories back then employed a sewing machine mechanic, sometimes more than one depending on the size of the factory and the volumes being manufactured especially the larger factories. The same was true for in-house pressers to press each garment as it was being constructed since critical areas of each garment required pressing in order to maintain proper shape, fit and finishing.

Last week I accompanied a parent to one of Bridgetown’s leading department stores that sell school uniforms to give some advice on the purchasing of their son’s school uniform. I stood there horrified in a trance looking at the garbage for uniforms on the racks and could not grasp or believe at what I was seeing for uniforms especially the girls. It is no wonder why Barbados does not have a thriving garment industry or workforce, in my forty-five years plus in the garment industry as a manufacturer, trainer, and teacher, have I ever seen such crap as far as quality is concerned. I am still trying to come to grips with what is being produced and the extravagant prices that the public has to pay for the crap.

When one looks at the finish of these uniforms including the sizing, it is evident that the manufacturers of these uniforms do not employ an in-house sewing machine mechanic or a presser or pressers in their establishments and in most cases have a pattern maker. All the uniforms on the racks were puckering at the seams, stitching too taunt, wrong seam allowances, hem threads showing on the outside of the garments and it was quite evident that the garments were not pressed and looked unfinished. Fabrics and threads come in different weights and sizes as well as needles and every time you are going to stitch a different piece of fabric, the correct needle size has to be used and the needle tension has to be adjusted as well as the number of stitches per inch for the size of the thread and fabric, otherwise you will have the problems with puckering and threads showing on the outside of the garment.

It is a known fact that one of the main factors that destroyed our garment industry during the declining years in the 80’s and 90’s beside the concession issues with the government was that most of the factories did not have a pattern maker. Unfortunately, there were only two professional pattern makers/graders in Barbados, one was involved in teaching and the other was involved in their own business. In order for any garment manufacturer to survive and operate a successful garment business, they have to have an inhouse pattern maker/grader unless they buy into these services as well as other services that they can buy into.

Like everything else, rules and laws govern the garment industry in terms of quality control and where shortcuts will ruin the final outcome of a garment. When it comes to sizing a garment it is critical that buttonholes are spaced correctly, correct size and positioning of pockets, collar size and lengths and overall fit. The purchasing of North America or European patterns and adjusting them will not work here for Barbadians or the wider Caribbean except for a small percentage of people is because of body structures and types. These patterns are drafted for white people whose body compositions are completely different to black people although everybody falls into a particular size. Let me reiterate here, foreign-made clothes are manufactured for white people who have a shape more like a pencil and not for black people whose waist tends to be smaller and have very large hips.

Most factories rely on foreign patterns and try to make adjustments to them since they are not any professional pattern makers or pattern making businesses around. In any case, the local manufacturers would not seek the services of any of the two local pattern makers, because that is how we treat our own and would not want to pay them the same fees that would be charged by a foreign pattern maker. It is unfortunate that Barbadians have to pay these exorbitant prices for all this crap and it is time that Barbadians start paying for quality and service.

Financial Services Commission Issues Cease Trade Order on Government Securities


Avinash D. Persaud, Chairman of the FSC (?)

The decision by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) to suspend trading in government securities effective 5 July 2018, although routine based on government’s decision to default on debt, the implications will not be. If the unconfirmed news that Avinash Persaud is the Chairman of the FSC, it is understandable why Prime Minister Mia Mottley prefers a team player. The blogmaster understands the routine of the changing of the Boards once a new government or Minister takes charge although there is nothing that would have prevented his reappointment.

For the Good of Our Country Barbados…

Submitted by Freedom Crier
Merit Based Immigration & Citizenship by Investment

Institute merit based immigration whether you are poor or rich. A man might be poor but, may have a Skill (Carpentry). But also have Citizenship by Investment say over EG: $3 Million US$. (I have seen Ads from America that investments of US$500,000. will get you a green card that could lead to citizenship). Other Caribbean countries have gone this route Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, and St Lucia offer Citizenship by Investment but they have competed at the low end and the investment for citizenship is low, we can take another tack by going higher.

This will spur investments in Barbados by high worth individuals and once they are here they will like what they see (what is there not to love, we see this by returning individuals all the time except they do not bring the big bucks.)

Barbados’ Structural Adjustments might be workable but too painful and I would like to make a Suggestion that Barbadian Citizenship should be granted by Investment of a Deposit not less than 3 million US Dollars (choose a number) in the Local Banking System to be used for Investment, Spending, Starting Businesses and setting up Holding Companies.  Just Attracting 100 of these High-Worth Individuals who may desire to have an additional Citizenship of another Country (Barbados) will net the foreign exchange position by 300 Million US Dollars. And that is only for a hundred people. If we can encourage these Wealthy Individuals to seek greater Participation in the Local Economy through the formation of partnerships with local Entrepreneurs bringing with them their skills in Finance, Big Management Know How that will raise the local Companies reach globally. Imagine if you opened up the Citizenship to a 1000 of these Rich Individuals that would give you an in-flow of 3 Billion US Dollars that could more than pay off the Barbados Debt with no IMF in Sight.

Because of Overstock.com investment in Bitt, Bitt’s technology has the Potential of very soon reaching the financial sector regionally & globally. Barbados has a lot of Information Technology Talent, these people just need funding, reach and guidance which is what these high worth individuals can Contribute.

The Rabble Rouser who will say you can’t sell Citizenship want to only give it away for Free as is presently done. For example the Problem with giving so many Guyanese people Citizenship is that money is sent back to Guyana and it can only go as foreign exchange. Just the same way that Bajan Yankees send money to Barbados, Guyanese sends money to Guyana. Which would you prefer, Save Barbados with the In-flow of 3 Billion US Dollars or ship foreign exchange out of the Country? Where there is a Will there is a Way.

We are not talking about investors like the Sandals Group who extracted Duty Free and Tax Concessions from Government and then turned around and import everything down to a Napkin Duty Free. We need them to invest more and bring their expertise and BIG finance, partnering will local entrepreneurs for further growth in the island and globally. Do not mind the people who say you can’t sell citizenship but want you to give it away for free, how foolish, imprudent, irresponsible, unwise, and reckless. It is better to choose who comes here and what they are bringing with them; Character, Money, Talents, Knowhow & avenues of Finance.

The PM should call to meet with some rich influential people in Barbados as they all love Barbados and might be amenable to helping, using a one on one to request their assistance in each one finding 10 persons and invite those 10 people to invest in Barbados gain their citizenship and since most of their wealth and business is outside of Barbados create a new offshore category for these types of individuals with regard to income taxes and other incentives.

See list of persons in the video of the riches people in Barbados.

Joseph Saddler, Rihanna, Kyffin Simpson, Murial Dean, Sir Charles Williams, Michael Barry Tabor, Derrick Smith, Dermont Desmond, JP McManus, Eugene Melnyk. These rich people can be asked for advice the same way you meet with the Social Partners, their ideas would be worth a great deal as in their realm of business dealings is unlike what we may have in the Social Partners.

We may have to consider offering some type of incentive other than citizenship alone such as off shore companies operating in Barbados that only generate US$ and employing Barbadians pay their employees in US$ and they the employees pay a lower rate of income tax (Offshore Companies rate) or no tax on their income (as in the large international accounting firms) also they may deposit their remuneration into their own US$ account. You will still get taxes from them; Vat and all purchases locally that have elements of tax in them EG: electricity. Find out what has driven Kiffen Simpson companies out of Barbados to other localities and fix that and use that as a type of model and add to it to revamp Barbados tax structure of how we do business. Stop the loss of the offshore sector using benefits, Let them pay their top executives in US dollars, they hire high paying employees a boon for all our UWI grads  and rent houses from locals and maybe use the Citizenship by investment to drive the conversation to bring an influx of new business and new investments.

We already give anybody temporary “citizenship” when we let them stay on holiday except now let’s expand this to citizenship by investments with benefits. A poor man does not hire people only people with money do. A poor man cannot start a big business only a man of means can. Attracting high worth individuals should be a priority use the citizenship by investments with benefits; task someone who knows how to recruit high worth individuals and as an example have this person talk to Gabriel Abed of BITT he meets people from around the world pushing his company, Billionaires, people of worth like Branson of Virgin Atlantic Fame. This personal and selective push will net the best result.

The worst thing to do would be to bring or invite low skill or no skill people like Haitian whose culture is foreign to Barbados as seen in the looting during the hurricane in Florida and constant riots in their home country as have been done by our PM at the heads of CARICOM meeting I am sure with the encouragement of Commie Sing Song.

Please tell me why this Very Important Decision that would Impact the Lives of Bajan’s I.E Opening our Borders to Haitians who would be fleeing poverty, (over 700,000 in the USA and another 800,000 to the Dominican Republic and other hundreds of thousands to the Americas who have already fled) should not the People of Barbados been Informed first before the announcement was made @ CARICOM by the PM…

We the people have given the PM a full house we do not expect to be the dumping ground for Haiti or for her to do the bidding of Commie Sing Song who was not elected. Commie Sing Song is misguided; the heart cannot rule it has no direction the head must rule. But what is life without the heart. The two must work together but remember the head must rule as you will be without a rudder. This careless decision can only throw Barbados into Turmoil the Likes that have never been seen before…They have put others “First” before their Own Country…Sounds All Too Familiar!!

Imaging what the impact a few hundred Haitians rioting for better living conditions in Barbados will have on our Tourism industry? Barbados is known for its calm and stable country do we want to turn it into the “safety” of Trinidad or Jamaica?

We can all make a difference in making Barbados Great, starting with the importance of Individual Responsibility and using our God Given Talents and Abilities to Improve Our Lot!

Economic Entrepreneurs are a Boon to Society; Political Entrepreneurs are Another Animal Entirely!

I shared the Idea Previously about the SEED BOMBS to Help with the Reforestation of Haiti. What other Ideas do you have to Contribute to Help the Haitians Help Themselves? May Freedom Crier Suggest that BU welcomes other Articles that will Improve and Benefit Barbados under the Banner of “The Building of our Nation”.

Fortress Caribbean Property Fund: Do We See Rats Jumping Ship?

Geoffrey Cave, Chairman of Fortress Fund

Geoffrey Cave, Chairman of Fortress Fund

There is the old saying that one should always follow the money. In the case of Barbados one can say that when the money-class in Barbados begins certain machinations others less positioned should sit up and take careful note.

A report which appears in the Barbados Today makes for interesting reading – Fortress Fund initiates major move to safeguard investors as property market sags. While the newspaper has done a good job of reportage, it is unfortunate the dearth of financial analysis by the Barbados media. Another indicator one can use to measure the quality of our education system and media fraternity, another blog perhaps.

Barbadians have always been spoiled by the idea that property value and rental income will never decline. The fact that the report by Barbados Today acknowledges that principals at Fortress Fund are warning about negative impact on the real estate market is interesting for many reasons.


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Opportunity Africa: Leveraging Barbados’ First Cousin Advantages to Maximise Trade and Investment in Africa’s Economic Rising

Donna St.Hill - Bio

Donna St.Hill – Bio

Caribbean people have long been at the forefront of African liberation and empowerment. From political giants like Sir Walter Rodney, Marcus Garvey and George Padmore, to more recent stalwarts in the vanguard like Bob Marley, Sir Hilary Beckles and Eddie Grant, out of the geographically tiny islands of the Caribbean have come the towering intellectual raison d’être of African emancipation, black power and Pan Africanism.

Today, as a second “scramble for Africa” ensues around the globe, Barbados along with the rest of the Caribbean has an opportunity to leverage our history of leadership on the frontlines of African unity, now that that same passionate engagement is needed in order to consolidate the economic transformation currently taking place on the African continent. However, while in the past Africa reaped the benefits of efforts of its stolen tribes in the middle of the Atlantic sea, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in living experience, the advantage is not just one way but a potential win-win for Continent as well as the Diaspora in the Caribbean.

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Canadian Government Continues to Hunt for Tax-Avoiders

Submitted by Not Taken

Canadian government has Cameco in its sights for $800 million

Canadian government has Cameco in its sights for $800 million – Photo credit: The Globe and Mail

Yet another interesting (scary for Barbados) article – Cameco’s $800-million tax battle. I have been sending these recent articles  as a public service so the Minister of Finance (MOF) and Governor of the Central Bank have a heads up on the attack on Canadian tax evaders/avoiders that is undoubtedly about to hit the Barbados offshore industry; if in fact it has not already hit – but unreported.

This is very bad news for Barbados revenue sources. While the Cameco case involves its Swiss subsidiary, it is probably just the tip of the iceberg in CRA’s efforts to collect taxes due to Canada. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of  Canadaco (Barbados) Limited businesses doing the same same transfer pricing schemes (scams) in order to pay 2% income tax to Barbados, rather than 27% to Canada.

Even those Canadian companies not not already being audited for this this type of tax “management” may decide for close up shop in Barbados to avoid the publicity that a CRA audit will bring.

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Government Needs to Protect Small Businesses

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Perhaps more than many, I can empathise with individuals who have recently seen their business either fail or brought dangerously close to insolvency. In 47 years it has happened to me twice and in both cases, they were largely external forces which caused near personal financial catastrophe.

Of course, it is easy to attribute the blame to others but in my case, I can unequivocally state that both near failures, which occurred years apart, were largely caused by strike action in the United Kingdom. Both involving the National Union of Seaman. Personally witnessing bus loads, of what can only be described as pickaxe wielding thugs, destroying property and intimidating ordinary people simply wanting to go about everyday work and operating their businesses.

More than a decade later, it was the same union, blockading the English channel ports, which prevented literally thousands of our booked holidaymakers taking their hard earned trips.

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Small Business Cannot Get Government to Pay VAT Refund After Two and Half Years

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Over the last twenty five years, I believe our small company has been a model corporate citizen on Barbados. We have no outstanding debt to either Government or the private sector, yet next week we will be forced to go cap-in-hand and beg our bankers for an overdraft facility.

Why, you may ask?

Simply to be able to cover our expenses, while we await several VAT refunds totalling over $32,000, which have been overdue for as long as two and a half years. We are told that all the claims have been approved, but are ‘warned’ not to call the VAT office, to chase when payment will be paid. Of course, we have tried to approach Government discreetly by writing to two Ministers with responsibility for either VAT or small businesses, but weeks later, neither have bothered to respond.

Related Links:

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Notes From a Native Son: Has the Central Bank Failed to Give the Nation Any Direction on Economic Recovery

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The governor of the Central Bank appears quite clearly to have lost all sense of balance as far as the local economy is concerned. Not only has he been in office for the last five years or so, he is yet to come up with a publicly available reasoned and detailed plan for rescuing the nation’s economy from the situation it is in. His recent obvious confusion about the constitutional role of the Central Bank adds further to the confusion. Even local journalists are confused.

Dr Worrell’s reported U-turn on a policy announcement – a veiled criticism of the government, then claiming the government was on track – was but the latest in a series of embarrassing episodes. But first, we must get the legislation right. The Central Bank Act is irrelevant to the new financial architecture post-2007 and the new global regulatory paradigm. I said before, and say again, that the Act needs serious reform, giving the Bank a legally defined role, on par with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and all the other major Central Banks. Be that role inflation targeting, financial stability, or even more explicitly, managing unemployment rates, there must be a benchmark against which we could measure the Bank. Now we have a situation in which the governor is publicly expressing views about fiscal policy, and one local website even describing the governor/central bank as the government’s primary monetary and fiscal adviser. Not at all. The central bank should be independent of the government of the day and should be reporting direct to parliament.

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Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI, Cave Hill

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI, Cave Hill


There were a number of listings and De-Listings across the regional exchanges in 2012. On the Bahamas International Securities Exchange, Arawak Port Development was listed on April 23 2012. In Guyana, Rupununi Development Company Limited was listed on March 19 2012. In Jamaica, First Caribbean International Bank Jamaica, First Jamaica Investments Limited, Montego Freeport and Pegasus Hotels were De-listed, while on the main market Proven Investments was listed, and, Consolidated Bakeries, Paramount Trading Jamaica, C2W Music Limited and K. L.E. Group Limited were listed on the Junior Market. Supreme Ventures was De-listed from the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange.

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 3 December to 7 December 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI, Cave Hill

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI, Cave Hill

Keep It Simple.
Keeping it simple in investing is not stupid. Seventeenth-century philosopher Blaise Pascal once said, “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.” This aptly describes the investing process. Those who trade too often, focus on irrelevant data points, or try to predict the unpredictable are likely to encounter some unpleasant surprises when investing. By keeping it simple–focusing on companies with economic moats, requiring a margin of safety when buying, and investing with a long-term horizon–you can greatly enhance your odds of success.


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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 26 November to 30 November 2012


Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI, Cave Hill

The Float Ratio of a stock refers to the number of outstanding shares held by “public investors” as opposed to company officers, directors, controlling-interest investors or other strategic investors. In essence, the float ratio refers to the proportion of shares that are available for regular trading, as distinct from shareholdings that are only likely to be traded as part of a major re-organization of the firm.  The float ratio is a major determinant of the liquidity of a stock.  Stocks with relatively small float ratios tend be rather illiquid, with very little trading.  This makes it extremely difficult for investors to earn capital gains on such investments, and may leave minority investors at the mercy of the dividend policy set by dominant shareholders.  To help promote liquid markets, the Hong Kong Stock exchange, for example, requires a minimum float of 25% of the outstanding shares.  In a number of cases, stocks listed on Caricom exchanges have float ratios way below this minimum.

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Entrepreneurship Key to ‘Rebirthing’ This Fair Land

An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities

Richard Branson believes an entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities

“In plenty and in time of need. When this fair land was young, Our brave forefathers sowed the seed. From which our pride was sprung…”

From time to time in Barbados the debate centres on how Barbadians can enable the landscape for entrepreneurship to flourish. A casual observation confirms that a large and growing Barbados middleclass is of the collin-tie variety. Entrepreneurs who are wired to deliver goods and  service of a world class standard continue to struggle and earn respect in Barbados; in stark contrast to Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana. In fact we may have a problem defining who is an entrepreneur versus a businessman.

BU suspects for an entrepreneurship culture to take root in Barbados  an old mindset has to be dismantled and be transformed, to become a Barbados where the school, heights and terrace, media etc are respectful of this segment. BU has a view that the socialist model which has served Barbados well in a post Independence period has lost its relevance. A consequence is that a mendicant culture is flourishing. Social benefits have morphed to be entitlements in the perception of many. The end result is that we have reached a point where public expenditure has outpaced our ability to generate matching revenue. Ignore the politicians who disagree!

What will it require to energize a comfortable ‘collin-tie’ class that a different approach is needed if we are to protect the standard living we have become addicted?

Here is one of the world’s best known entrepreneurs extolling on – what is an entrepreneur:

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 12 November to 16 November 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill

Listen to Your Gut.
Any valuation model you may create for a company is only as good as the assumptions about the future that are put into it. If the output of a model does not make sense, then it’s worthwhile to double-check your projections and calculations. Use DCF valuation models (or any other valuation models) as guides, not oracles.

Know Your Friends, and Your Enemies.
What’s the short interest in a stock you are interested in? What mutual funds own the company, and what is the record of those fund managers? Does company management have “skin in the game” via a meaningful ownership stake? Have company insiders been selling or buying? At the margin, these are valuable pieces of collateral evidence for your investment thesis on a company.

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 5 November to 9 November 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill

Prepare for the Situation to Proceed Faster than You Think.
Most deteriorating businesses will do so faster than you anticipate. Be very wary of value traps, or companies that look cheap but are generating little or no economic value. On the other hand, strong businesses with solid competitive advantages will often exceed your expectations. Have a very wide margin of safety with a troubled business, but do not be afraid to have a much smaller margin of safety for a wonderful business with a shareholder-friendly management team.

 Expect Surprises to Repeat
The first big positive surprise from a company is unlikely to be the last. Ditto the first big negative surprise. Remember the “cockroach theory.” Namely, the first cockroach you see is probably not the only one around; there are likely scores more that you can’t see.

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CARIBBEAN STOCK REPORT 22 October to 26 October 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill – Click image to read in PDF

Solid gains on manufacturing stocks drove the major Caribbean indices higher during the week ended October 26. For the week, 3,963,727 shares valued at $4,418,471 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 43 stocks advancing, 36 declining and 44 remaining unchanged. Caribbean Producers was the volume leader with 719,093 shares being traded, Ciboney posted the largest gain for the week (12.32%), while on the losing end, Caribbean Cement fell (10.16%).

For the week, thirteen of the CSX 30 stocks advanced, eleven declined and six were unchanged. The CSX 30 gained 2.79 points to close the week at 1,404.27, up 6.79% year to date. In the CSX 30 there were gains for Wibisco (5.47%), Mayberry (3.17%) and scotia Group Jamaica (1.59%). On the negative side, Caribbean Cement fell (10.16%), NCB Jamaica (6.08%),CW Jamaica (4.78%), Guardian Holdings (3.68%), Desnoe & Geddes (2.12%) and Grace Kennedy (1.17%).

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Notes From a Native Son: What Ethics and Whose Social Responsibility?

Hal Austin

On Wednesday I delivered the keynote address to a Financial Times seminar on ethical and socially responsible investing and thought the content generally of interest to share with a number of you. I have turned the speech in to a blog.

Re-Defining Ethical:
Behaving in an ethical or socially responsible way is one of those things that most people think they know about, but like most social definitions, what is ethical to me may be fun to you. In the not so long ago days, when we talked about ethical and socially responsible investing – and the two are not the same – we knew broadly what we meant: that we did not want to invest in companies that manufactured alcoholic drinks, tobacco products, encouraged promiscuous behaviour, and so on – generally the sort of assets that churches, charities and other religious bodies invest in. However, in today’s climate we have to rip up that definition and start again. As the Chinese say, we are living in interesting times. But in a world of historic social and economic upheaval, this throw away phrase means far more than it at first suggests.

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 1 October to 5 October 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill – Click image to read in PDF

In a week of light trading, gains for Retail and Distribution, Conglomerate and Banking stocks saw the CSX 30 end the week higher, while the Junior market again returned to negative territory. For the week, 6,429,103 shares valued at $3,341,679 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 20 stocks advancing, 41 declining and 64 remaining unchanged. CW Jamaica was again the volume leader with 1,388,904 shares being traded, Scotia Group Jamaica posted the largest gain for the week (8.66%), while on the losing end, Gleaner fell (14.28%).

For the week, eight of the CSX 30 stocks advanced, fourteen declined and eight were unchanged. The CSX 30 gained 15.72 points to close the week at 1,403.99, up 6.77% year to date. In the CSX 30 there were gains for Scotia Group Jamaica (8.66%), Carreras (7.36%), National Enterprises (3.26%), Ansa Mcal (1.45%) and Republic Bank (1.20%). On the negative side, Gleaner fell (14.28%), CW Jamaica (12.24%), JMMB (11.64%), Desnoe & Geddes (3.13%), Mayberry (2.72%) and Guardian (1.64%).

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 24 September to 28 September 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill

The weakness in Caribbean stock in 2012 continued as the major indices ended the week of September 28 lower.  The major indices were dragged down by losses on manufacturing and financial companies, however, there was some respite for investors on the Junior markets as that index ended the week in positive territory.  For the week,  22,767,153 shares  valued at $6,298,829 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 22 stocks advancing,  59 declining and 43 remaining  unchanged.  JMMB was again the volume leader with 14,556,430 shares being traded, C&W Jamaica posted the largest gain for the week (9.56%), while on the losing end, Bank of Nevis fell (23.53%).

For the week, six of the CSX 30 stocks advanced,  seventeen declined and seven were unchanged.  The CSX 30 lost 1.98 points to close the week at 1,388.18, up 5.57% year to date.    In the CSX 30 there were gains for CW Jamaica (9.56%), Carreras (1.26%) and Scotia Bank TT (1.01%).  On the negative side, Desnoe & Geddes fell (6.53%), Guardian Holdings (3.13%), Scotia Group Jamaica (1.73%) and Lascelles (1.28%).

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 17 September to 21 September 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill – Click image to read in PDF

The recent rally on Caribbean stock markets was brought to an abrupt end as Caribbean stocks ended the week of September 21 lower. The major indices were dragged down by losses on financial companies. For the week, 20,196,651 shares valued at $7,156,122 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 40 stocks advancing, 42 declining and 42 remaining unchanged. JMMB was the volume leader with 4,952,245 shares being traded, Lasco Financial posted the largest gain for the week (16.60%), while on the losing end, Caribbean Cement Producers fell (15.30%).
For the week, twelve of the CSX 30 stocks advanced, twelve declined and six were unchanged. The CSX 30 lost 3.63 points to close the week at 1,390.16, up 5.72% year to date. In the CSX 30 there were gains for Desnoe & Geddes (9.50%), Mayberry (1.59%) and Lascelles (1.38%). On the negative side, Caribbean Cement fell (15.30%), Banks DIH (9.21%), CW Jamaica (8.55%), Guardian Holdings (3.46%), Scotia Group Jamaica (2.77%), and NCB Jamaica (2.34%).

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 10 September to 14 September 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill – Click image to read in PDF

A rebound in Manufacturing and Retail and Distribution stocks saw the CSX 30 extend its rally into a third week, while the Junior Market also staged a rebound and ended the week higher. For the week, 21,446,499 shares valued at $4,036,901 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 55 stocks advancing, 29 declining and 40 remaining unchanged. Jamaica Broilers was the volume leader with 8,798,789 shares being traded, Pulse Investments posted the largest gain for the week (39.43%), while on the losing end, Jamaica Producers fell (18.72%).

For the week, twenty of the CSX 30 stocks advanced, five declined and five were unchanged. The CSX 30 gained 7.88 points to close the week at 1,394.34, up 6.03% year to date. In the CSX 30 there were gains for Bank of Trade & Industry (21.24%), Lascelles (2.73%), Carreras (2.60%) and Scotia Group Jamaica (1.69%). On the negative side, Guardian Holdings fell (1.67%), JMMB (1.43%) and NCB Jamaica (1.11%).

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 3 September to 7 September 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI

Solid gains on Conglomerate, Manufacturing and Banking stocks saw the CSX 30 extend its rally from last week and end the week higher, while the Junior Market returned to negative territory. For the week, 8,325,163 shares valued at $3,230,566 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 41 stocks advancing, 39 declining and 44 remaining unchanged. Jamaica Money Market Brokers was again the volume leader with 1,284,631 shares being traded, Lascelles posted the largest gain for the week (32.69%), while on the losing end, Lasco Manufacturing fell (8.00%).

For the week, fourteen of the CSX 30 stocks advanced, ten declined and six were unchanged. The CSX 30 gained 23.83 points to close the week at 1,386.46, up 5.43% year to date. In the CSX 30 there were gains for Lascelles (32.69%), Scotia Group Jamaica (6.48%), CW Jamaica (4.54%), Desnoe & Geddes (3.94%), Grace Kennedy (3.72%), Republic Bank (2.37%), Ansa Mcal (1.44%) and NCB Jamaica (1.13%) and Neal & Massey (1.09%).

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 27 August to 31 August 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI

A broad based rally across most sectors, saw the major Caribbean Indices end the week of August 31 higher. For the week, 13,600,340 shares valued at $3,390,466 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 53 stocks advancing, 29 declining and 42 remaining unchanged. Jamaica Money Market Brokers was the volume leader with 3,358,996 shares being traded, Ciboney posted the largest gain for the week (49.94%), while on the losing end, Honey Bun fell (19.22%).

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WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 20 August to 24 August 2012

Compiled by the Department of Management Studies, UWI Cave Hill – Click image to read in PDF

Losses on Retail and Distribution stocks resulted in the CSX 30 ending the week of August 24 lower, and the misery on the Junior Market increased further. For the week 14,152,805 valued at $2,828,445 crossed the floors of the six stock exchanges across Caricom, with 22 stocks advancing, 60 declining and 42 remaining unchanged. Sagicor Life was the volume leader with 6,282,718 shares being traded, Gleaner posted the largest gain for the week (9.26%), while on the losing end, Pulse fell (21.47%).

For the week, eleven of the CSX 30 stocks advanced, thirteen declined and six were unchanged. The CSX 30 lost 1.13 points to close the week at 1,352.05, up 2.82% year to date. In the CSX 30 there were gains for Gleaner (9.26%), Guardian Holdings (2.54%), Desnoe & Geddes (2.45%), Caribbean Cement (1.93%) and NCB Jamaica (1.29%). On the losing end Grace Kennedy (6.58%), CW Jamaica (4.40%), Scotia Group Jamaica (3.63%), Carreras (3.59%) and Sagicor (1.26%).

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