Notes From a Native Son: Time for the Government to Get Moving

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

The intellectual argument that Barbados is in deep economic (and social) crisis has now been conceded by the deniers – those who talk nonsense about the nation punching above its weight and exaggerating the soft influence we have in the region and, the world. Of course, it is all self-praise, the unfortunate outcome of economic ignorance and wishful-thinking.

I have said before, and will repeat again, that: first, the narrative that we have had a period of prosperity in the first decade of the 21st century was a myth built on over-borrowing on both a household and government level, ignoring our inefficient productivity to such an extent that we even believed that life owed us a living.

The second point that needs stressing is one that is in danger of seeping in to the gilded story of our economic prosperity: again, let us concentrate it to the post-independence years, and that truth is that the official myth-making of our economic growth, generally given as three per cent annualised, is, to be polite, crap. Had Barbados had a three per cent growth rate over the last decade, compounded, our post-global recession story would have been totally different. As things stand, we are up to our necks in debt, tourism, the main driver of the economy, is in intensive care and the priest is standing by to perform the last rites, while, in the meantime, relatives are fighting over how to divide up the spoils even before the last breath leaves the body.

Continue reading

Financial Services Commission Needs To Deliver on its Remit

Bruce Bayley, Chairman of CGI

Bruce Bayley, Chairman of CGI

The observation has been made by BU et al from time to time that there is a lack of financial analysis by the local traditional media. While there is reporting about financial matters, the public continues to be cheated out of billions invested in the education system through the years which continues to produce accountants and graduates in many disciplines a dime a dozen. Our observation pertains mainly to financial entities where consumer risk is greatest for many.

Section 4.(e) of the Financial Services Act 2010 states that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) was established “to promote stability, public awareness and public confidence in the operations of financial institutions”. The last five years have wreaked havoc on the economies of countries all over the world, Barbados being no exception. It is therefore not unreasonable to expect that companies operating in Barbados are currently managing declining balance sheets and are therefore under financial stress.

BU believes that in the current environment the dearth of financial analysis has accentuated the risk for the general public. There seems to be the acceptance that if Company X meets its legal obligation to publish its Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss in the newspaper all is well. Unfortunately BU does not have the expertise and resources to effectively fill the void although we have sensitized our readership from time to time of the need to be vigilant in these matters.

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

The Tax Haven Issue Gaining Momentum

Submitted by Not Taken
 Francois Hollande, president of France

Francois Hollande, President of France

French President Francois Hollande has called for “eradication” of the world’s tax havens and told French banks they must declare all of their subsidiaries.

President Francois Hollande

As a regular visitor to Barbados, I am concerned with what I am reading in the mainstream media in Canada and Barbados and the blogs. Tourism is in the tank, and the Ministry is creating two new entities to replace BTA.  So now there will be two layers of bureaucracy.  That should really speed things up.  The Minister heads a delegation to Miami to convince the cruise lines to send more ships. I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that Barbados pays the cruise lines to dock at Bridgetown port; and less than 20% of the passengers disembark and spend money in Bim.

The matter about which I write is the “Tax-Haven” issue. I see that the post Low Tax Haven Jurisdictions Under Scrutiny has slipped into the older posts and is generally out of view. I may be over-reacting to or over-concerned with the Tax-Haven issue; but I think the discussion is important and should be kept in the forefront, so the Barbados authorities can not simply bury their heads in the sand.

I am repeating myself in some of the following, but I think it warrants repeating. According to recent media reports in Canada, Canadians or non-resident Canadians  have $53 billion invested in Barbados in 2011. Whether Barbados is in fact a “Tax-Haven” is open to debate. In Barbados it is referred to as Foreign Direct Investment; In Canada it is being referred to as “off-shore” investments.

Continue reading

Review of Barbados' Economic Performance for 2012 and Prospects for 2013

To make the harsh observation: Our foreign reserves would have dropped to $1.3 billion if not for that $167 million from the sale of the BNB shares….Was that sale strictly for window dressing purposes to impress the IMF and the ratings agencies? It would have meant 4 continuous years of declines in the year end foreign reserves.

Related Link: Review of Barbados’ Economic Performance for 2012 and Prospects for 2013 (text)

Is the Customs Officer Always Right?



The following article is written by Customs Officer, Arleigh Durant, for CESS NEWS (Customs and Excise Shop Stewards News). The shop stewards at Customs use CESS as an avenue to disseminate news among the staff.

A member of the business community was having a candid conversation with a Customs officer. The businessman told the officer “time is money I have instructed my broker to do whatever customs require. If the customs officers wants to up my values or change the tariff number so that I have to pay more duty, I am not wasting my time quarrelling with them. I will pay whatever they want me to pay. That additional cost is passed on to the consumer. My bottom line will not be affected. That man in Enforcement or the one in Outdoor they can do as they like “. We are all consumers; the price of items can erode our purchasing power. There is no special price for Customs workers.

The way Customs does business is critical to the survival of some small businesses. The big businesses may be able to pass on the cost. With the small business increased cost could cause the business to close down. In these hard economic times one must take into consideration the commercial realities and our societal duty to assist the national efforts to keep people employed. With people out of work, there is a greater threat to the society. Crime and violence will increase. Our tourism industry can be crushed by the ravages of crime and violence.

Continue reading


By Baba Elombe Mottley

By Baba Elombe Mottley

All across the English speaking Caribbean, there is an ominous movement of sorts, a movement of low frequency rumblings without patterns, without form, not like the rhythms of bumbatuk or soca or the one drop of reggae or mento that we are accustomed to.

The essence of all of these known rhythms is that they link us to a past of chattel servitude where there was little choice for self fulfillment. In time these rhythms. isolated as they were in tenantries and yards and the dancehall, fortified our resolve towards freedom and independence.

Over the last 40 to 50 years, we built indigenous institutions in every sphere, oblivious to the rumblings that were moving across the region. We dismantled the psychological prison of plantation inheritance, killed off the skills we developed to feed and clothe ourselves while we were taught to assemble products that we never used. We set a precedent by bribing investors that our labour was cheap and responsive to training and we told ourselves we could depend on these jobs.

Read full submission

WEEKLY CARICOM STOCK REPORT 10 December to 14 December 2012

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

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

Should You sell Those Shares To Finance Christmas Shopping?
In the two years we have been publishing this report, we have noticed an increase in share trading around the end of the year. This has led us to suspect that some investors may be liquidating their shares to help finance Christmas and New Year holiday expenditures. Is this a wise decision? Like so many things it all depends. In general, you should not use investment funds to finance consumption. If you are holding the shares as a means of financing some future expenditures like retirement, education and so on, then you should desist from liquidating shares to finance holiday related consumption expenditures. However, liquidating shares to help finance Christmas and New Year expenditures is generally a better financial decision than undertaking expensive hire purchases or neglecting to pay other bills. In general, I would suggest that you save over the course of the year to finance holiday expenditures, avoid debt to finance holiday expenditures, exercise moderation in holiday expenditures and if you must, then only finance holiday expenditures from the gains on your investments rather than liquidating your capital.

Full report

Notes From a Native Son: To Much Haste, Possible Waste

Hal Austin

In a moment of euphoric celebration, the Opposition BLP published a 15-point plan which it hopes will be a roadmap to power when the DLP Government finally decides to call a general election. It appears as if the BLP is so confident that the ruling DLP is destined to lose power whenever the general election is called, that it has decided to break with all conventional orthodoxies by publishing the fifteen key points, which presumably will be the centre of its manifesto. What makes this so surprising is that although former prime minister Owen Arthur is not considered an intellectual, he is widely regarded as one of the most astute political tactician of his generation.

Conventionally, opposition parties hold their powder dry, especially if the ruling party is digging a hole for itself through gross mis-management of the economy, preferring to maintain a ‘negative’ strategy – pointing out the weaknesses in government policy and reminding the electorate that had they been in power they would not have introduced such the policy being criticised. In such circumstances, one thing is clear, after nearly five years in power, the DLP government is still at sea, with some key advisers, who ought to know better, supporting its ineffective policies apparently purely out of self-interest.

Continue reading

Notes From a Native Son: Making a Traditional Business Model Modern

Hal Austin

I have a deep and consuming passion for small rum shops, apart from the fact they tend to take up too much of my time when visiting Barbados.
But then again, I have a confession to make: I am the product of a rum shop culture, on both sides. My paternal grandfather had a rum shop and bakery in Nelson Street (Ye Olde Grogge Shoppe), which ran from the 1930s to the 1960s. And, on the maternal side, my mother ran a shop for years in the Ivy, until she immigrated to the United States. But being called rum shops was about all they had in common, along with selling the amber nectar to people who were a bit too careless about their earnings than was good for them. The clienteles were totally different. While my paternal grandfather, later grandmother and aunt, ran an establishment which also functioned as a low-cost food provider, with my mother’s establishment, it was more hard drinking, and non-stop gambling, especially poker. To this day I do not like the idea of gambling – or drinking rum. However, on hearing that there were moves ahead to bring stubbornly independent rum shop owners together, my first reaction was: about time.

Business Model:
Small business people are always the first to be forced out when a society is developing and the emerging middle class wants to move away from the old customs – their parents’ generation. In Barbados, post-independence, one of the first casualties of the emergence of a middle class was the small rum shop. But, a question I always ask myself, have we been throwing out the baby with the bath water? But, if the proposed rum shop body, let us call it a Cooperative, is to work, then the business model must be simple, transparent and practical.

Continue reading

Notes From a Native Son: Why a Massive Development Plan Could Have Made a Major Difference to Development in Barbados (Part two)

Hal Austin

Medium Term ( First parliamentary term):

Part of any dynamic strategic development plan should be based around carefully locating industrial policy at the heart of that plan. But, as has been mentioned before, this generation of policymakers and politicians do not have a natural impulse for industry. They prefer to base development strategy on tourism, because it provides the ready cash, and on the provision of services such as law, medicine, offshore health and education, and accountancy, because they fit in with their professional training. In other words, these are areas in which they feel professionally and politically comfortable. But one example shows the weakness of such thinking. There is a small company in Britain, called LondonBioPackaging, a small environmentally friendly packaging firm, as its name implies. Part of the products it provides are food containers made from bagasse. In the mid-1960s one of Barrow’s promises was to develop a chip-board company made from bagasse, which he said the Cubans would train young people in developing. Today there is no such industry.

Barbados was also the home of the early stages of  what became the Iraqi super gun, trialled at the Barbados Foundry; we have now lost those skills. In the mid 1960s, Texas Instruments came to Barbados with its compute chip manufacturing plant, but as soon as the tax free period was out it moved to Malaysia. So, our failure to gain any knowledge transfer from these industries is not a recent phenomenon, it goes back to the 1950s.

But spin-offs from bagasse is not our only significant industrial failure. Barbados has a premium grade rum, or so we are told, yet it remains a family-run family cottage industry, or one which uses the Barbados brand but is owned by some French company or mainly identified with Bicardi. There is no training programme for would-be distillers, no trade association, no collective advertising. We drift along hoping that people would like and buy our brands giving us further reason to talk about being world-class.

Related Link: Notes From a Native Son: Why a Massive Development Plan could Have Made a Major Difference to Development in Barbados (Pt 1)

Continue reading

Notes from a Native Son: The Barbadian Diaspora

Hal Austin


The post-independence experience of Barbados is one of missed opportunity after missed opportunity and nothing demonstrates this more that the Diaspora conference which is now coming to an end in Barbados. Here was a rare opportunity to draw on the collective knowledge, enthusiasms and skills set of the great Barbadian Diaspora to add to the mix of ideas and proposals for the development of this small, but proud island-state, across a number of disciplines, sectors and industries?

Here was an opportunity for overseas-based Barbadians to contribute in a fundamental way – not just through the vulgarity of semi-naked dancing and alcohol-induced unprotected sex – to the short, medium and long-term development of their island home.

Sadly, the notion, first developed under the late David Thompson, has been taken over by a group of people without any idea of how to take forward what was a dynamic and brilliant idea and make it bear fruit. From reports and conversations with people who have attended, the conference was a talking shop, lacking in substance, and acting as a break between the entertainment and recreational shopping.

Continue reading

What Is Going On Here?

Adrian Loveridge – Hotel Owner

Message from the Board of Directors of Almond Resorts Inc – Published in the Nation and Barbados Advocate today.

Shareholders were asked to approve the sale of Almond Beach Club to Fairweather Holding Company, but it appears they were only acting as a nominee for Lazy Lagoon (Barbados) Ltd. Is this a nearly formed company and where is it registered? I have tried searching the CAIPO Corporate database but cannot find it.

Who are the shareholders of Lazy Lagoon (Barbados) Ltd and what is the commonality with Lazy Lagoon Limited which is as associate company of the Goddard Group (33 per cent shareholding) or Lazy Lagoon Holdings Limited an associate company of Neal and Massy Holidays Ltd (44.5 per cent shareholding).

Continue reading

Local Media Lacks Financial Intelligence

Annie Lowrey,A Harvard grad who is an economic policy reporter for the New York Times’ Economix blog – Credit:: Policymic

…what percentage of investors who invest in Bim are driven by ratings? what rates can we raise money at if we need to? The fact is that Jamaica with a much lower rating has been raising money globally at comparable rates to Barbados, actually lower in some cases.

My general point is that all the people who have been opining have not bothered to check or try to get info on the trading in currently outstanding Barbados government bonds graded internationally. has there been any selling off, have the yields gone up. How can we claim to be serious about these issues?…

Ellis Chase

Of concern to BU and others we know is the lack of financial Reporters employed by traditional media. One only had to observe the Central Bank of Barbados press conference yesterday. The traditional media whether it wants to accept the responsibility is an opinion shaper for many Barbadians.

Continue reading

Financial Meltdown, How Would It Effect Our Fragile Investment In Four Seasons?

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

Greece’s political leaders struck a historic deal Thursday to make deep cuts in government jobs and spending to help save the country from a default that could shock the world financial system.

Greece needs the bailout by March 20 so it will have enough money to redeem €14.5 billion worth of bonds coming due. If it doesn’t make that payment, it will be in default. Financial analysts fear that could set off a chain reaction similar to the financial meltdown triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008.

What would be the implications should the worse happens? What about our already fragile investments in Four Seasons? Shouldn’t we be more prudent and at least wait for the March 20th deadline before swinging another cent . Make “cents” to me, what do you think?

Looking Ahead For The Better

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

The taxation assault that was unleashed on Barbados, has brought about what is occasioned today …a total slow down of the economy and negative or no growth pattern during the five year implemented. It was a mistake to increase VAT from 15% to 17.50% in order to bring additional revenue in a time of recession as was warned by Mascoll, Justin Robinson of UWI and Owen Arthur of the opposition. If I remember right, the analogy was to be likened to “an air plane taking off with four open parachutes”… It was suggested that this would stifle any growth, the struggling economy was stimulating on its own at that time.

Regardless of the warnings of these recognized economists, the tax increase was implemented with the predicted results…a barren economy..stagflation occasioned with increased inflation and a decline in”real” revenues.

Continue reading

Stop Blaming All On Global Economies

Submitted by Old Onion Bags

Why don’t the DLP give up on its campaign of blaming everything on Global Economies for its lethargy. Bajan are growing tired of it now. Everything during its 5 year term has been blamed on the Global Economies yet Brazil, Singapore, Taiwan Guyana Canada Sweden and I can go on and on…have been registering GROWTH during 2008-2012.

Why are these places immune from Global Economies.?… is just their Ministers of Finance( unlike ours) has enough sense to know… an over taxed economy will present NO GROWTH…increasing VAT by 2.5 % collected $54 million but hauled in $-120 million in bounced cheques..netting minus $-66Million..They should be so ashamed to have published this…so what was the Controller doing all this long time…it only takes 4 weeks at most to know a cheque has bounced….but $-120 million..

That’s what you call sitting on your arses and twiddling thumbs

Barbados Entrepreneurial Foundation Think Tank, Outcomes

Dr Ronnie Yearwood

The Barbados Entrepreneurial Foundation recently held a think tank session to critique the need for a new Barbados governance model. One of the key players behind the initiative is Dr. Ronnie Yearwood. Last week BU posted ‘An Open Letter to Barbados on Forty Five Years of Independence: We Are the Change’.

Here is some more from Dr. Yearwood:

Some will not agree with Dr. Yearwood and this is good if the commentary is constructive.

The Barbados-China Connection: “A Word Of Caution”

Submitted by Austin

There is a lot of activity recently between Barbados and China being reported as a positive national development.  However the Bajan politicians brokering our relationship with China need to be “cautious” and look beyond the “clear” benefit of opening new markets to Bajan businesses to things “not so clear”.

There is a Barbados National Security component to the relationship being established China which needs to be carefully evaluated by folks that understand “China”.  China in recent years has focused diplomatic efforts on many African nations (having embassies in almost all) and now is focused on the Caribbean.

We need to ensure that at the “end of the day” whatever China is getting out of the Barbados-China relationship does not “adversely impact” the average bajan man or woman, noting China ability to product low cost goods which would drive cost down and make it hard for bajan small businesses, at a time we trying to promote small business development.  There is a real risk of killing key components of the Barbados small business community if this relationship is not carefully analysis from both near term and long range perspectives, the phase “ good from FAR but FAR from good” comes to mind”.

Continue reading

ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Latest Buzz Word For Government

Sandra Husbands, Barbados Labour Party Candidate for St. James South

The revival of the demand for a relatively unknown entertainment licence has frustrated the efforts of many promoters to host Crop Over fetes resulting in losses for this sector. It is a reflection of the regard with which small businesses are held by government. This economic crisis has taken a toll on the small business sector that now reels from diminished spending power of its customers, and rising costs to do business, compliments of the international environment and government taxation policy. Hundreds of small shops, professional services, contractors, fisherfolk, retail shops, cosmetologists, IT service providers, general services providers are now operating on a third of the income they commanded in better years or in some cases closing. Loss of private sector jobs have come primarily in this sector as small business employers have been forced to cut hours, lay off, reduce purchases of goods and services. Many are unable to meet payments and statutory obligations such as rent, wages, loans, utilities, suppliers, increased licensing fees, NIS, PAYE, and VAT. The international environment and questionable government policy squeeze from both sides robbing these businesses of necessary oxygen to survive. Their demise affects significant investment capital, and the employment opportunities for the young graduates and school leavers, now some 12,000 strong. The growing number of empty commercial spaces is testimony to closures in this sector.

Taking government at its word that it is committed to the small business sector, in 2008, the request to government was as a strategy to aid the small business sector to survive the unfolding crisis was to ensure that 40% of government contracts worth 200m be distributed to this sector which would support close to 1000 small businesses. This would have protected more than 4000 jobs thus stabilising the unemployment figures without gov’t swelling the civil service. This money would flow through the economic system benefitting a wider network of persons into the retail and services sectors, banking system, large businesses etc, thus sustaining government revenues through VAT receipts, duties, income tax and corporation tax. Instead we witnessed a contraction in the use of small businesses in the tenders for government contracts, which have become concentrated into fewer hands.

Continue reading

Urgent Need To Define A Relevant Land Use Policy

Mark Cummins - Chief Town Planner Credit: Nation

“We face a problem in Barbados with smallholdings. A lot of these date back to pre-emancipation days when many non-slaves were what was described as “free persons of colour”. However, to be able to hold public office, they had to own in excess of 10 acres of land. Many free persons of colour purchased the minimum 10 acres of land and many of those titles remain with the descendants today”
–  Amused


The controversial Bizzy Williams brother of Sir Charles Othniel Williams is in the news again for asserting the government is to blame for the  ‘spiralling price of land’. He is partially correct although it is not as simple as he suggests. A former Commissioner of Land Tax stated recently if government wants to significantly reduce the price of land it would have to release several lots into the market to satisfy current demand. This would lead to a measure of price equilibrium. It is no secret that demand for land currently outstrips supply. It is easy for Barbadians to take pot shots at the Williams brothers because they are known to be rich and therefore an easy target. The fact that both of them are outspoken means the Williams target becomes even bigger.

When analysing the issue of spiralling land prices in Barbados several factors must be considered. Successive governments have used real estate development to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) especially on the West Coast. There are also Barbadians living in the Diaspora who have been encouraged to invest in Barbados to respond to  government’s insatiable need for foreign exchange. What about the ownership of large tracts of land which Amused reminded us of in the quote above and the impact it has had on freeing up land?

Continue reading

Going, Going, GONE!

Theory of value and property – Locke [John] uses the word property in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour.

Locke believed that ownership of property is created by the application of labour. In addition, property precedes government and government cannot “dispose of the estates of the subjects arbitrarily.” Karl Marx later critiqued Locke’s theory of property in his social theoryWikipedia

Barbados celebrated Errol Barrow Day on January 21. One of the pleasures of the day was to listen and view the many audio and video clips which were broadcast on the day which featured The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow.  Clearly evident was the vision of the man – many of the concerns he expressed in the 70s and 80s are still with us today. In one of the clips Barrow lamented that our banking, insurance, tourism and other key sectors were controlled by foreign interest. Sadly two or three decades later nothing much has changed on this front.

One of the many imponderables which seems to be confronting Barbados at this time is the extent to which, as a people, we have forgotten who we are. How do we want Barbados to be defined for our children? Do we still want to be friends of all and satellites of none? Why do we continue to allocate 20% of our education budget to education but seem to have a growing predilection to sell the fruit of our labour to foreign interest?

Continue reading

Emera About To ‘Steel’ Barbados Light & Power Co Ltd

Douglas Skeete

Accountant and head of the local corporate shareholders group Douglas Skeete expressed surprise in the news today at his findings after he did a quick and simple analysis of Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) balance sheet to determine the book value of its shares. One would have thought given his role as an Intervenor in the recent Fair Trading Commission (FTC) BL&P Hearing he would have been more than intimate with the disparity in BL&P’s book value per share and share price. After several days of discussion, the public is now being made aware by local commentators that simple analysis shows that the book value of BL&P shares maybe easily located in the $40-$50 range. We have been told the results of a study will be made public shortly to more accurately determine BL&P’s book value per share. The offer of $25.00 by Emera against the foregoing should now make for more interesting discussion.

On the 21 December the BU family would have been apprised by a source of the revelation which Douglas Skeete announced today:

BL&P, at $12.50/share, is valued on the BSE at $BDS 214m. At $BDS 25/share Emera are suggesting BL&P the company is actually worth $BDS 428m. Why this apparently generous price? Take a look at the 2009 BL&P’s accounts. Net asset value (ie all its assets minus all its liabilities) is sitting around $BDS 620M. Or something north of $BDS36/ share.

Continue reading

Delisting Of Companies Listed On The Barbados Stock Exchange

Submitted by A. Freeman


Sir Neville Nicholls - Chairman of Securities Exchange Commission

Sir Neville, the role of the Securities Commission in part is “… the protection of investors by ensuring that they are able to invest in a fair, orderly and transparent market…”.

Under no circumstances can the delisting of a company, which has minority shareholders, be fair to its minority shareholders, especially when the major shareholder controls/holds in excess of two-thirds of the voting shares. Allowing any such delisting will set a disturbing precedent, with the potential to disadvantage minority shareholders of the companies now listed on the Barbados Stock Exchange, where there is a major shareholder that holds/controls at least two-thirds of a listed company’s shares.

If the major shareholder of a listed company desires to delist that company, the minority shareholders should first be offered a fair price, for their shares, of cash or shares in the major shareholder, if itself a listed company.

Peter Boos Pushing To Make Barbados Entrepreneurial Hub By 2020 – Is He Fighting The Political Ghost Of Sir Lloyd Sandiford?

Submitted by the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC)

Peter Boos

The idea that Mr. Peter Boos has of making sure that Barbados becomes the No. 1 entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020 – is one big bogus idea.

Such an idea needs to be put alongside that of another big flawed, foolish idea – one which was often bandied about by the last BLP Government in the early 2000s, and one which by mid 2000s had become utterly meaningless  – the bid to make Barbados become a developed country by 2020.

While the PDC has no qualms whatsoever with Mr. Boos’ voicing  support for the development of a strong entrepreneurial culture in Barbados in the long term, we have great difficulty at this stage with this attempt of his to “play” with the minds of many people in this country, with this illusory notion of Barbados becoming the No 1 entrepreneurial hub of the world by 2020.

Furthermore, whereas we do not have any problem with this goodly public figure espousing values consistent with the achievement of a better entrepreneurialism for Barbados, we do have fundamental misgivings with he and his group (Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation) having held a useless ineffectual two-day Barbados National Entrepreneurship Summit in the expensive plushness of a Needham Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel, decorated with “flashing lights”, and interrupted with “pulsating music and snazzy slideshows” ( pg. 15 Monday, December 6, 2010, Barbados Business Authority), when, at a point in time of increasing, great hardship and misery for so many thousands in Barbados, he and they could have made use of the ordinary comfort of some community centers, some schools across the country, to put forward real effective ideas to help solve many of the fundamental social, political, material and financial problems presently facing the broad masses and middle classes of people of this country.

What a spectacular dastard shame!!!

Continue reading

Defending The Bajan Brand – II

Submitted by Kim Young as a comment to the BU blog Defending The Bajan Brand

star_mauby_syrupYou know David, I share the views of some of your commentators. First, I think I understand what you mean by “reputational management”. I suspect that you are alluding to the good reputation Barbados has on the international scene as a Country with Standard and Poors, WHO, PAHO, major UN bodies etc. We have good governance GENERALLY, a country with good infrastructure, a decent longevity rate, medical and other social, environmental and cultural infrastructures that support the people of the country and its guests.

On some points I have to disagree. I do  not agree that Barbados is properly branded. I never did. Indeed, when I lived in New York I have never seen a Bajan product at all. If you are referring to Barbados as a tourist destination, it is “branded” to some extent in England in particular (where I now live) as a tourist destination particularly since we were once a colony BUT, and this is a big but, the budget or the mismanagement or whatever is responsible makes Barbados as a brand , in terms of its marketing, rather inferior. I have never seen a poster in the major train stations ( my station is perfect – Gloucester Road Tube) but I see Jamaica, Majorca, Egypt, St Lucia, Greece, Spain. Barbados products – I shop at Waitrose, just around the corner here in Kensington. I have seen every possible brand of product and never a Bajan except Mount Gay Rum at £17 a bottle and a badly presented box of sugar @ £2 per box. Had Plantation Sugar packaged it like they do in SuperCentre, Holetown, and sell it for Barbados $17, they could sell it in London for £5 at least. That silver boxes sugar is used in the Queen’s box at Ascot yet they put a crappy box in a supermarket. The Brits would gobble up the pewter tin of sugar to just show it off if nothing else. That is good branding.

Continue reading

On A Point Of Order Regarding The 3S Barbados ABC Highway Matter Mr. Speaker

From left: President of 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos, Former Minister of Public Works and Transport Gline Clarke, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll, Businessman Hallam Nichols

From left: President of 3S Barbados SRL, Jonathan Danos, Former Minister of Public Works and Transport Gline Clarke, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Clyde Mascoll, Businessman Hallam Nichols

Last week the House of Assembly met to debate a resolution to approve the borrowing of $165 million by the Government of Barbados from the Barbados National Bank to finance the ABC Highway project. It should come as no surprise BU continues to follow the issue of the ABC Highway Project with a keen interest. BU was the first in the blogosphere with the help of our reliable source to suggest that there was a fishy smell which had developed around the ABC Highway /3S Barbados Project.

It is unfortunate former Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke was thrown to the wolves in parliament last week when the debate in the House centred on the ABC Highway Project. Neither former Prime Minister Owen Arthur or current leader of the Barbados Labour Party Mia Mottley were present to support Member of Parliament Gline Clarke as he passionately defended decisions taken during his tenure under the former Barbados Labour Party government.

Former Junior Minister Clyde Mascoll who had the enviable job of defending GEMS after attacking the government while in Opposition on the same matter was not present either.  He was unsuccessful in regaining his St. Michael North East seat. We all remember Mascoll as Arthur’s pit bull who was unleashed to defend the former government’s decision-making on the ABC Highway/3S project.

Continue reading

Another Plantation To Bite The Dust

Pickering, St. Lucy

Pickering, St. Lucy

Yet another application has been sent to the Chief Town Planner for a change of use to land previously used to support agriculture. BU family member Nostradamus has been persistent in drawing to the attention of the BU family that land in excess of 24.7 acres require that an environmental impact assessment be done.  This time it is the Northridge Development Company Limited who has submitted an application to convert the alleged cash trap Pickering Plantation. The area is expected to be transformed into a sprawling development over nine years.

Looks like Ambassador Kellman is getting his wish to convert St. Lucy into a hustling second city IF the Town Planner approves the application.

If our understanding is correct the Pickering Plantation represents 233 acres of which 180 is designated agriculture and the remainder industrial. We are writing subject to correction but the geography of the area straddles Broomfield and Spring Hall.

Continue reading

Government Lead Strategy For Expanding The Manufacturing Sector In Barbados

Submitted by Corey Weekes MSc, CPIM, CIRM, CSCP - Operations/Supply Chain Management Consultant and Director of Tropique Wines

Submitted by Corey Weekes MSc, CPIM, CIRM, CSCP - Operations Supply Chain Management Consultant and Director of Tropique Wines

As the right honourable Prime Minister indicated in his latest budget speech, we are experiencing very difficult times, and now more than ever, it is important to embark on strategies that generate sustained future growth in exports and foreign exchange. The strategy outlined in this article is penned with the idea of propelling the country on such a journey. It relates to the question of how we can bolster our manufacturing sector for greater foreign export earnings

Despite the policies of several governments, the challenge of increasing manufacturing’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remains. A review of central bank reports leads one to the conclusion that successful manufacturing in Barbados is a mirage, with no future in today’s apparent world of services. But, before we detrimentally forecast this sector’s demise, let’s examine a model of success that continues in this area, and serves as a platform for sectoral development.

I have written before that the success of the medical device manufacturer, Lenstec Barbados Inc, is no accident, and has precedence for where team Barbados’s focus should be. The initial attractiveness of Barbados as a destination for manufacturing foreign direct investment (FDI) is very much present, in the form of low tax rates and duty-free material access etc, as found in the international business company act. These policies are the first important pillar for a successful manufacturing strategy, and remain laudable and attractive, but by themselves, are not enough to lure industrial FDI en masse.

Continue reading

Who Is Guarding The Guard As LIME Continues Its Monopolistic Ways?

Rosevelt King - Intervenor

Rosevelt King - Intervenor

Barbados Underground is fortunate to have Roosevelt King (ROK) and Chris Halsall as members of the BU family.  They are better known in Barbados for the role of Intervenors when the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) meets to rule on applications submitted by the utility companies. Two recent comments posted by the good gentlemen have resonated with the BU household and given us cause to question the effectiveness of the FTC and by extension the government of Barbados as far as its oversight duties are being managed.

In 2001 when the FTC legally subsumed the Public Utilities Board and was given a wider scope to monitor, educate, investigate, and enforce fair competition and consumers’ rights by service providers and consumers, there was high expectation by the Barbadian public. This came against a background where historically there was an acceptance, especially in the absence of a vibrant culture of consumerism, that consumers were being taken to the cleaners by the utilities and merchants in general. We remember well that the then government represented by Arthur, Toppin, Eastmond et al did a good job of selling Barbadians on the FTC concept.

Eight years later the jury is out on whether the FTC has been able to satisfy the expectations of the Barbadian public. Have they been effective and proactive as set out in their core values?

Continue reading

Barbados Makes It To The Organisation For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) White List

oecdComing out of the  G20 summit in London this week Barbados would have derived great satisfaction when the OECD published late last night (02 April 2009) its revised Tax Haven List. The List is divided into four categories:

Continue reading

On A Point Of Order Chairman Ralph Taylor

Ralph Taylor

Ralph Taylor

Ralph W. Taylor, MBA, CHA, MCHIMA, JP Chairman and Managing Director of Almond Resorts Inc and Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority has become a very influential player in the local and regional tourism sector. Many admire and respect Taylor for his achievement as a leader in a sector known over the years to be controlled by foreigners. Taylor is still seen as the key driver of the Almond Resorts Inc all-inclusive model. Under his management Almond Resorts has demonstrated enterprise by spreading its wings to St. Lucia and it is regarded as a successful operations.

Against the above BU was alarmed when we had a quick look at the Almond Resorts Inc Financial Highlights Year Ended September 2008 published in the local newspaper (Nation p.14) today. Unfortunately we have not been able to find an online link to the financials but to support this blog we have scanned the financial results in three parts which are posted below.

We encourage members of the BU family who are so inclined to provide some critical feedback on the Almond financials. From a layman’s perspective we wish to ask Mr. Ralph Taylor the following questions:

Continue reading

Consumers In Barbados Continue To Be Conned By Merchants

Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson

Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson

BU family member Carson C. Cadogan has been strident and unequivocal in his condemnation of the merchant class in Barbados. His criticism of the groups which control the channels of distribution and retail has attracted criticism from other BU family members because he is of the view that the groups which have historically controlled have been White i.e. Hanchell Inniss, R. L. Seale, Bourne, BS&T, Goddards etc.

To say that Barbadians have significant choices to buy low priced food and other commodities would not be fair. Barbadians have witnessed the demise of the Julie N’s and Bugs Buy entities over the years when these entities tried to bring the price of food down. We may not totally agree with how Cadogan frames his contributions but we should not ignore the message, PRICES IN BARBADOS CONTINUE TO INCREASE. This is despite the acknowledgement that freight and other key input costs have been falling on the world market. Additionally, news out of Trinidad and a few other countries confirm prices have started to dip in those countries.

Not so in Barbados!

Continue reading

Barbados Prepares To 'Weather' Economic Storm

We are living in difficult times. One of my more-.perceptive friends recently described our Island as a “motorized ghetto”, where the smell of diesel and gasoline fumes, and the ever-present vehicular pollution add a peculiar resonance to the ambience of this Rock that we call home. We have become so smug in our belief that Barbados is on a continuing upward path of so-called development, that we seem to have forgotten that we live on a very small island with a fragile ecosystem. Our current political leaders, in the belief that repetition is reputation have been trumpetting claims to such achievements, as an unprecedented eight years of uninterrupted economic growth, the lowest level of open unemployment on record, and the highest level of net foreign reserves ever accumulated, thereby encouraging us to forget that our Island faces an uncertain future.


david thompsonThe issue of the rising cost of living will no doubt remain firmly at the top of the national agenda in the coming weeks and months ahead. The pundits seem to agree that the current configuration of our economy places a skewed reliance on imports which lends itself to imported inflation. When this unfortunate reality is studied against the recent report issued by the National Productivity Council of zero growth in national productivity in the last two years, the affinity by Barbadians to behaviours which engage in high consumption expenditure, and the relatively high debt burden which Barbados has to manage, we absolutely don’t envy Prime Minister David Thompson.

Let us not forget that Prime Minister David Thompson came to government on a campaign promise to reduce the cost of living. How quickly the reality of managing a small open economy in a volatile global market can loom.

Continue reading

Black Barbadian Businesses: How Will They Fare Against Rising Competition In The Emerging New Economy?

Against the backdrop of rising petroleum prices at home and abroad, the specter of failing businesses will loom to a greater degree. Of interest to BU will be the number of Black businesses which are likely to flounder in the current environment. Obviously to manage any commercial enterprise in a climate which reeks of unpredictability and stiff competition, calls for high order business skills, in-dispersed with a heavy dose of common sense. We reluctantly have to admit that too many Black businesses in Barbados have attracted comments like “no succession planning”, a willingness to be too generous with their deposits to the hairy bank” and other disparaging labels too numerous to mention.

A related story which resonated with the BU household appeared in the Nation newspaper last week. It outlined the imminent demise of a popular Black business, the Dining Club which is owned by Chef Peter Edey.

The article outlined the huge debt which Chef Edey’s catering business has accumulated. If we recall what was reported correctly, the debt racked-up is to the tune of $200,000.00. Edey is quoted as lamenting the uncertainty which now surrounds the tenure of his 100+ employees. What floored the BU household is his plea to the government for help!

Continue reading

Chefette's Halloute Sells Out

Visitors to BU would have sensed by now that we are appalled at the rampant construction which has been taking place on our coastal regions unabated in recent years. More of concern is the unregulated building of large and ugly edifices which have been rising-up to spoil our beautiful coastline or as Reverend Andrew Hatch would say – our windows to the sea are being closed.

We thank a BU commenter who is equally concerned and reminded us this morning about the deal to sell the Chefette Restaurant Holetown property to a British Investor. From all reports the site will be replaced by you guessed it, another condominium. The report in summary:

The sale is expected to pave the way for a new flush of condominiums along the upmarket West Coast.

Should Barbadians feel sadness and betrayal that Chefette Restaurant which has been supported by locals for all the years has succumb to foreign investment?

Related Link: Barbados Coastline Gone!

Mergers and Acquisitions

The following article was written by Dr.Justin Robinson and published in the Business Authority 18 February 2008 issue. The BU family would remember that the Doctor, who lectures at the University of the West Indies (UWI), has parted from his stuffy colleagues by coming to the blogs to educate the Barbadian blogosphere. His article is very relevant at this time given the recent announcement that the barrier to the disputed transaction involving Neal & Massy and Barbados Shipping & Trading has been lifted.

David – BU

Hand Shaking

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) around the world continue to occur at a dizzying pace. Securities Data Co., Newark, N.J calculates that through mid-December they totaled a stunning $2.5 trillion for 2007. The urge to merge has also hit the Caribbean and Barbados as evidenced by a number of high profile take-over bids in recent years. While M&A remain one of the most popular mediums for corporate growth the available evidence suggests that the vast majority of M&A fail to create significant shareholder value.

Research studies by business academics and management consultants have repeatedly demonstrated that most mergers and acquisitions fail to accomplish their stated goals. In fact, the most common result of mergers and acquisitions is destruction of shareholder value. Depending on the research study being quoted, failure rates range from a low of 50% to a high of 80%. The most comprehensive study to date was published in November 2007 by AT. Kearney Inc., the Chicago-based management-consulting arm of Electronic Data Systems Corp. Having examined 115 multi-billion dollar mergers in manufacturing, finance, utilities, and services in the U.S.A. and thirteen (13) other countries, Kearney determined that 62% of mergers failed to create significant shareholder value. Another widely quoted study is the Boston Consulting Group report, published in June 2007. After analyzing three thousand two hundred (3,200) transactions the Boston Consulting Group concluded that sixty percent (60%) of M&A completed from 1992 to 2006 reduced shareholder value. These recent studies confirm the findings of a number of earlier academic studies and it is now generally agreed that perhaps as many as two-thirds of all acquirers fail to achieve the benefits planned at the outset of an acquisition.. The consistency of the research findings across a variety of studies is indeed a rarity in Social Science research, and should not be taken lightly.

Continue reading

Former Minister Lynette Eastmond Hits The Ground Running


Good to see that former Minister Lynette Eastmond is prepared to offer a service to the public that will tap her experience as a former government Minister. She has started a blog which peddles her services – click on the image above. No doubt she would have gained many insights into how to confront the maze of government bureaucracy and acquire many contacts that now equips her to offer a beneficial service to the public. We take this opportunity to wish the newly married former Minister all the best in her attempt to operate in a market space which is currently deficient.

We note that Ian Bourne’s Bajan Reporter blog got selected to be on the sidebar of the former Minister’s blog. We are just kidding Minister; we understand that to list BU or BFP would create an “unevenly yoked” relationship!

Question for you Mrs. Eastmond-Parris, are you really done with politics?

Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) Currently Reviewing Rate Structure


BL&P managing director Peter Williams (right) and chief marketing officer Stephen Worme (left) – Source: Nation Newspaper

Recently, Barbados Underground received an email from an individual who expressed some concern at ‘goings-on’ at the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P). We have always tried to be fair to all parties in our reports as far as practicable. It is in this vain that we contacted Mr Stephen Worme who is the Marketing and Communications Manager at the BL&P. To his credit, we have found the gentleman to be one of the most accessible Communications Specialist in Barbados; his counterparts in several of our leading companies in Barbados would do well to follow his lead. Mr. Worme was kind enough to respond to a few queries from the Barbados Underground. Immediately below, please see our queries in blue with Mr. Worme’s responses :

We are about to complete a story which hints that with your recent management restructure and three senior supervisors leaving the company, all is not well. Before we release such a story, we want in the interest of fairness to hear your response.

Continue reading

The Cost of Living In Barbados

We are pleased to publish the following article by Dr. Justin Robinson. His article provides an in-dept analysis about the vexing and topical issue of the high cost of living in Barbados. We encourage the BU family to give the Doctor a warm welcome. We hope that he and his colleagues at the University of the West Indies are driven to write many more articles which would help the public of Barbados to grapple with some of the many issues which confront us. Continue reading

Price Control By Another Name?


According to the most recent CADRES/Peter Wickham poll, uppermost in the minds of more than 40% Barbadians surveyed is the high cost of living. This ‘revelation’, on the eve of a general election, which the same poll has predicted a 5.5% swing against the government has served to galvanize the government into a frenetic response to ensure that they are re-elected. Anyone in the boots of Prime Minister Owen Arthur would probably respond in the same way.  Evenso, the action by the government can be viewed as disingenuous. In recent years Barbadians have been fed rote responses by our ministers in government, including the Prime Minister, that high prices and the resultant high cost of living are linked to movements in the global market, e.g. the rising cost of oil.

To the credit of the government, the initiative led by three of its young brigade: Clyde Mascoll, Lynette Eastmond and Mia Mottley, who in short order, have been able to persuade, coerce, and co-op the co-operation of our captains of industry, to agree to a fixed mark-up on a basket of food stuff, which has been deemed to contain the staples to satisfy the average household. We congratulate the government on this initiative to attempt to control the price of certain foods which are purchased by the average household. We however have to question if the proposed strategy is a sustainable one. The realization that our government maybe threading on ground never trodden before was highlighted on a call-in program earlier this week hosted by Tony Marshall. One of our elusive University of the West Indies lecturers called the program to offer an opinion on another issue; Marshall took the opportunity to ‘ambush’ lecturer Justin Robinson by asking him to comment on the initiative by government to engage the private sector to selectively reduce the price of selected products. Robinson’s response was interesting. He referred to the government’s initiative as ‘collaborative price control’. He further informed the listeners that up to the time of his calling the program, he had not been able to find any similar documented protocol which he could use to offer as a comparison. We don’t have to rehash the many arguments which point to the ineffectiveness of a price control strategy. What are we trying to say? The jury is out on whether this form of collusion between private sector and government will have the desired impact.

Can we describe this initiative as a useless form of price control?

Continue reading

Residential Electricity Costs To Be Subsidised

It is an attention grabbing headline, but what does it actually mean to the average user?

If media reports are correct, Government is going to subsidise the cost of fuel oil bunker C to the BNOC to the tune of $1.5 million. Again, according to media reports any saving will only apply to residential users, which were estimated at around 33% of total consumers.

As electricity bills climb, presumably so does the VAT collected and I wonder if anyone has actually calculated the additional revenue to Government this has brought?

Is this simply an exercise of giving with one hand and taking from another?

It would be interesting to know, what an average residential electricity bill is, and what has been the overall increase in VAT collected so far this year.

Adrian Loveridge

18 November 2007

Related Article

Cost Of Living in Barbados Out Of Control Like A Runaway Freight Train

Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd

A letter from the Fair Trading Commission was hand delivered to me today, dated 14th November 2007.

Including in its contents the letter stated:

‘The Commission met with Mr. John Payne, Director of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited to determine the relationship between Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd and Opera Telecom Limited of the UK’. ‘The Commission learnt that Mr Corbett of Telecom TV UK (we think this means Opera Telecom UK) developed a programme which he intended to bring to Barbados but subsequently decided not to do so. He, however, assisted with the stetting up of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd and his name was cited as a director of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd’. ‘The Commission has received a “Certified True Copy” of a document entitled “Notice of Director or Notice of Change of Directors” dated Nov 1, 2007 showing that Mr. Gary J. Corbett was removed as a director of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Ltd on October 17, 2007′.

‘With respect to Opera Telecom’s UK’s name being flashed on the screen during television advertisements, please note that the Commission obtained a copy of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited’s advertisements which were previously aired on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. The advertisements stated that the prizes for the competition were supplied by Opera Telecom’. The Commission was informed that the aforementioned statement was a mistake carried forward from an earlier test promotion and that Opera Telecom UK has never provided the prizes for local competitions. The Commission informed Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited that if Opera Telecom UK is not associated with the company, then its name should be removed and replaced with Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited. Mr Payne agreed to do accordingly’.

‘On Friday, October 5th 2007, a concerned consumer informed the Commission that the telephone numbers given by the operator of Barbados Lucky Number(s) for winners to contact the operator of the competition and claim their prizes was not operational. The Commission reviewed the advertisement for Barbados Lucky Number(s) which was displayed in the October 5, 2007 Weekend Nation and sought to contact the operators of the competition using the number stated in the newspaper. It was confirmed that the contact number was not in working order. The Commission contacted Mr. John Payne Director and Ms Joanne Nugent of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited with respect to the matter’.

‘The Commission requested Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited to immediately carry out the following actions:

  • Ensure that its contact number for winners of Barbados Lucky Number (s) is operational
  • Be more transparency and publicize the winners of its competition in the media
  • Clearly state in its advertisement that Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited is the operator of the competition

The Commission can now confirm that the contact number for winners is operational. Additionally, Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited has confirmed that the names of the winners of its competition will be published in the media. The said company also provided the Commission with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of its competition winners. The Commission telephoned those persons identified on the list as winners to confirm that they were authentic. Additionally, Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited will be identified as the operator of the competition.

Our telephone enquiries revealed that the winners were bona fide winners of Opera Interactive (Barbados) Limited competition and that they had received their prizes’.

The letter ends with ‘Please be assured that we will continue to monitor businesses to ensure that they comply with the Act’.

Adrian Loveridge

16 November 2007

PS: I personally have not seen the winners names advertised, so I have asked the Fair Trading Commission to advise when and where these notices appeared. My thanks for the Fair Trading Commission for their work in helping to resolve this situation!


Related Stories

Four Weeks Later It’s Business As Usual At The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation TV 8~ Feeling Lucky Anyone?

Opera Telecom Ltd

Authorities In Barbados Allow Opera Telecom To Piss On Our Rules & Regulations ~ Where Is Minister Lynette Eastmond?

Premium Rip off

It’s no great surprise to see Opera Interactive Technology in hot water over the £40m GMTV phone-in fraud. Last month, we put Opera top of our list of shame of premium-rate number firms hauled over the coals by the industry regulators ICSTIS. Its sister firm Opera Telecom had racked up £211,000 fines in 21 separate cases over two years. Opera, like other “service providers”, blamed the “content providers” who used its lines to peddle porn, ringtones and the like. Chairman Gary Corbett told us he “condemned the inappropriate use of premium rate services”. He added that he takes “immediate and proactive action” when he finds his resellers breaking industry guidelines. So what happens when it’s his own company accused of dodgy dealing? Corbett was allegedly copied in on an email in 2003 by his sales director Mark Nuttall instructing staff not to let GMTV know they were choosing winners before the competition closed.

What was Corbett’s “immediate and proactive action”? Er, he did nothing, apparently.

Source: Mirror UK

It has been almost two months since Adrian Loveridge brought to the attention of Barbados the murky operation of Opera Telecom. This British company has been running its game of chance on our lone TV station, Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and also on the front pages of the Nation newspaper. We have tried to identify if they were any winners of the competition since the launch but despite the best efforts of Adrian Loveridge et al, we have been unsuccessful. Adrian Loveridge even used his initiative to write to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) and to CBC to highlight the track record of the company. Despite all efforts Opera Telecom continues to peddle its game of chance without question from our authorities in Barbados. Remember the letter which Adrian received from the FTC which communicated that they were helpless to intervene?

The double standard which is being practiced by OUR FTC and consumer watchdog is reprehensible; no wonder Neal & Massy and Ansa Macal, and the list continues feel they can enter Barbados and ride rough-shod over our rules and regulations. We assume that we have rules and regulations don’t we? The FTC was touted as the entity which would save and protect the consumers of Barbados from the marauding practices of ‘big-business’ yet we have Opera doing as it damn-well pleases.

Continue reading

The Barbados Association Of Professional Engineers (BAPE) Have Some More FREE Advice For Government~Will It Be Heeded This Time Around?


Recently, The Barbados Association of Professional Engineers (BAPE) have been in the news often. It seems that Barbados has allocated millions of dollars to educating our people only to ignore their free advice when become qualified. It is well documented that BAPE has expressed concerns about the Operation Free Flow Project better known as the flyovers only to be told SHUT-UP by Minister Gline Clarke. We have written extensively about BAPE and the flyover project. If we were engineers we would feel slighted by all that has happened. Although BAPE has been described as a spineless association by the DLP at a recent political meeting, we have to shower them (BAPE) with praise for sticking to their guns regarding the need for government and 3S Barbados to clarify some technical issues related to the flyover project.

The latest concerns that BAPE has highlighted relate to the need for Barbados to implement the much touted building code. Based on our research there is a draft building code dating back to the early nineties. Although some of our responsible engineers, contractors, architects and other professionals follow the code they are not obligated to do so. (Again, we have written several articles about this issue.) BAPE is reporting that one month after the unfortunate Britton’s Hill tragedy where part of an apartment building collapsed into a cave, a new draft building code was circulated among the relevant professionals for discussion and feedback. In a nutshell if the new building code is proclaimed into law “it would mean that all building plans and alterations, including relatively minor ones, would have to be submitted to a new authority to verify conformity with the code, causing at least six weeks delay and additional cost in obtaining approvals.” BAPE is of the view that although there is a need for a building code/authority, the current proposal will create a large and inefficient bureaucracy.

We agree!

Here is what BAPE has proposed:

Continue reading

Media House Takes Another Feeble Left Jab At The 3S Affair~Come On Vivian-Anne, There Is The Right HAND!!!


Source: Nation Newspaper

It looks like Mascoll is the appointed fall guy on the 3S project. What else can we think given his incoherent pronouncements on the contentious issue so far? If we did not know better, we would have thought that all the other Ministers in the cabinet refused to speak on the 3S matter, in the absence of the convalescing Gline Clarke; or that the Prime Minister Owen Arthur has deemed that Mascoll is expendable.

What do you think? Could it be that Mascoll is being groomed to succeed Owen Arthur?

Today, we listened to an interesting exchange on the call-in program hosted by Dennis Johnson. The caller questioned the role of the media in Barbados and asked Dennis Johnson for an explanation of the role of the media. Dennis Johnson responded by saying that the media should be charged with “informing, educating and entertaining the public” and he lamented the prevailing impression that the media was more concerned with public relations (This is a precis of what we thought we heard). Thank you Dennis Johnson for making the point which BU have been trying to make for so long, and for logging your support for the “agitators” who operate outside the Fourth Estate (Media). One thing we can say about Dennis is that he speaks passionately about what he believes. Others should try to do the same.

Continue reading

Adrian Loveridge Questions The Local Media Houses Regarding Their Deafening Silence About The Jonathan Laslo Danos 3S (Barbados SRL) Affair

All Barbadians know that Adrian Loveridge who is a Barbadian citizen has been one never afraid to speak-out. It is something that all Barbadians should take note of if our democracy is to be protected.


The Daily Nation

The Barbados Advocate


On the 11th May 2007 in the Royal Courts of Justice (London), Jonathan Laszlo DANOS, President of 3S (Barbados) SRL, the company currently engaged by the Government of Barbados to widen the ABC Highway and build overpasses was charged with fraud and conspiracy by his former employers, Mabey and Johnson Ltd.

3S (Barbados) SRL, contention was that they had gained valuable experience while constructing Flyovers in Panama. According to Robert Capurro, Director of Sales-Latin America & Caribbean-Mabey and Johnson Ltd., “Mabey & Johnson has supplied a number of steel flyovers to Panama since 1997. As far as we are aware, no other company has supplied or completed such steel flyovers in that country.”

Bearing in mind the Project Manager of 3S (Barbados) SRL, George Siddall, recently announced that the estimated cost of the work undertaken was expected to rise from US$60 million to US$180 million, it is difficult to understand why your publication/station has not carried this story.

Adrian Loveridge

Going, Going And The West Coast Of Barbados Is Gone!


A very topical issue in Barbados in recent years has been whether Barbados needs to develop a land use policy. Very closely associated with this issue is the concern some Barbadians have shown about the character of foreign investment coming into the country, but more importantly the ease with which foreign investors have acquired land in Barbados. The main argument against the current trend is that Barbados is an island of 166 square miles and to sell significant portions of land to non Barbadians is a policy which has led to inflated land prices and will lead to social fall-out in the not too distant future as Barbadians wake-up to the realization that owing land isn’t a reality any longer. Some may say that Barbados with no significant natural resources cannot afford to be “picky” about where the foreign investment comes from and more importantly how does the government satisfy the legitimate concerns of Barbadians?

We do not envy government on this one!

Interested in Barbados Hotel Sector
Arab News – 21/08/2007

(MENAFN – Arab News) RIYADH, 21 August 2007 – Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), visited Bridgetown, capital of Barbados, on Aug. 11, 2007, and met with the Acting Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. Bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Barbados, including a number of social and economic issues between the two countries were discussed during the meeting. Mottley commended Alwaleed on his humanitarian efforts and his role in helping economic development around the world.Alwaleed also held meeting with Tourism Minister Noel Lynch which revolved around investment opportunities in the tourism sector in Barbados.

The Saudi prince’s current investments in Barbados are in the hotel sector through Fairmont Royal Pavilion resort, which has been described as “The Jewel in the Crown of Barbados” and Four Seasons hotel that is under construction and expected to open in three years.

Situated just east of the Caribbean Sea, Barbados is an independent island nation in the western Atlantic Ocean and lies in the southern Caribbean region. The economy of Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in recent years it has diversified into the manufacturing and tourism sectors.

Source: and a BU Friend

How many Barbadians are aware that the Saudi Arabians have investments in the Fairmont Royal Pavillion and Four Seasons Project in Barbados? A recent meeting with Prince Alwaleed held in Barbados with Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Tourism Barney Lynch suggests that the Barbados government is courting this most unlikely source of foreign investment. We must take our hat off to Prime Minister Arthur, he is demonstrating that he is not afraid to play in the big leagues!

Now to our main story!

Continue reading

Michael Pembertom Calls Sir Roy Trotman A Liar In A Press Release Issued Yesterday

images.jpgThe discussion continues about the labor practices engaged by Cinnamon 88 the local company set-up to construct the Clearwater Development led by Barbadian and British businessman Michael Pemberton. Here is the lengthy Press Release issued by Michael Pemberton yesterday in response to Sir Roy’s public statement that locals were applying for jobs on the project and there is no current need to import Chinese labor.

(Thanks to the source for the information)





Continue reading

Barbadians Are Homophobes, Xenophobes, Too Passive And You Can Add Too Emotional To The List ~ Neal & Massy And Ansa MaCal Should Tell Barbadians The True Reason They Want To Acquire BS&T

In recent months whether it has been about the concerns about illegal immigrants, the acquisition of our best companies by Trinidadian owned companies, or the debate on declining morals, Barbadians have had to endure the labels. The most recent label has come from Douglas Skeete and Colin Brewer. They both believe now that the plan to steal BS&T from Barbadians by Neal & Massy has been foiled; the emotionalism which was evident by Barbadians has been replaced with a willingness to evaluate in an unemotional way the business proposition on the table. In other words, Brewer and Skeete want us to believe that BS&T Barbadian shareholders should only be concerned with the company that can guarantee the best return on shareholder equity__and they are right according to the text books!

If Barbados were a large market, Barbadians could ignore the multiple acquisitions of choice Barbadian companies by Trinidadian companies.

To support their argument they outlined the view that BS&T should not be described as a flagship company because there are better performing companies in Barbados. The other point which both Brewer and Skeete agreed on was to observe that many BS&T shareholders have held stock for 20 and 30 years. The two statements obviously conflict. Why would BS&T shareholders hold BS&T stock in a “poorly managed” company for so long? Something does not add up.

Is there another PR stunt being pulled on Barbadians?

BU can forgive Colin Brewer and Douglas Skeete because they are both accountants and they are both trained to look at numbers. If we were the goodly gentlemen we would not be so hasty as to disregard the emotionalism of Barbadians. Barbadians have had to live with yet another label, that of being a passive people. So to witness the outpouring of emotion which Barbadians have been consistent in showing about BS&T board room immigrating to Port of Spain should be worrying. Several years after a similar sale of Barbados National Bank (BNB) Barbadians continue to voice anger at the one that got away.

Continue reading