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.

LOST RESPECT.

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.

FALLING DOMINOES.

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.

LED ASTRAY.

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.

CHARGING WINDMILLS.

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

PUBLISHED MON, JUN 13 20224:40 AM EDTUPDATED MON, JUN 13 20227:58 AM EDT

Elliot Smith@ELLIOTSMITHCNBC

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KEY POINTS

  • 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.
(randybennett@barbadostoday.bb)

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.

Complaint

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.

Website
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.

Contact?
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.

Prices
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.

Tip
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