Too Much Love


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

Limited space does not allow me to share even the half of the love I received last week.  However, I can share some of it.

I received a letter from the bank that manages my retirement savings plan.  After working for over 30 years, I was scheduled to receive my retirement savings this year on my birthday.  Since the bank invested the bulk of my retirement funds in Government bonds, I cannot receive all of my money until 2033.  Thanks BERT.

Our dog got an ear infection, so we took him to his vet.  The vet noted that he was short on supplies.  The supplies were stuck in the Bridgetown Port, because the Port decided to switch to a new generation of software called ASYCUDA World without properly testing it.

The vet noted that because it was stuck in the Port for so long, the medicine had gone bad, so he left it there.  The Port wants to charge him duties and charges for the spoiled medicine.

When updating software on your personal computer, you should back-up your working files just in-case there is a problem.  A well-managed business will certainly back-up all working files before updating its computer systems.

If the software will affect the main operations of the business, then there is normally robust trial testing of the software before it is permanently installed.  If this critical pre-testing is not done, the business risks frustrating its clients and employees with unnecessary delays.

For the Bridgetown Port to have rolled out such a major upgrade, without the critical robust testing, is extremely bad management.  Unfortunately, we have devalued public sector management by using it as a reward for political party loyalty.

Despite over 40 years of evidence to prove that this is a failed method of procuring management talent, we persist with this lunacy.  We then tolerate the sorry excuse that this is the best that we as a small county can do.

The Government came for my pension, savings, and dog’s medicine, but they would not come for my garbage.  After one month of no collection, the bags of garbage normally spill onto the ground.  At that time, the monkeys and dogs try to do the SSA’s job, but they are not very successful.

While they collect our garbage more frequently than the SSA, they do not carry it very far.  So, I must repeatedly clean it up, and return it near the bin, until the SSA comes at week six.

I try not to complain about the rare sightings of the SSA trucks, because we were all supposed to be in the same boat.  Then I learnt that some were in a little Moses, where they had to wait for 2 months, and I felt guilty.  I also learnt that some were on a cruise liner, with weekly collections.

This is not like water outages where water distribution is dependent on the levels in the nearest reservoir.  These are trucks with routes that can be scheduled.  Why are some benefiting from a weekly garbage collection, while others are suffering with a two months service?  Why not share the trucks equitably, so that we all get, perhaps, a 3-week collection?

My car insurance expires next week in November.  So, I paid the insurance premium and took the cover note to BRA to get the sticker.  After spending one hour in the line, where only 2 of the 5 cashier positions were active, the cashier politely explained that I paid my insurance too early.  She said that I must return on or after the expiration date.

First my pension, then my retirement savings, then my dog, then my garbage, now I must return to BRA, waste more time in a line, and risk a $5,000 fine if I am late?  I did not realise that a reckless comment had escaped my lips until I heard my own voice.

I told her that I had been standing in line for the past hour, only to be told to return and stand in the same line.  Her response was that she did not tell me to stand in the line for one hour.  She was correct of course, so I thanked her and left.

As I walked to my newly insured car, I finally appreciated how much the Government loves us.  I recognized that the Government’s public sector policies are designed to ensure that no Barbadian is left behind.  They have accepted a new mandate to get us all into heaven – by frustrating the hell out of us while we are on the earth.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

More Questions about 40 Million Port Scanners

The following exchange between Citizen Advocate Kammie Holder and Head of Technology Division. Stuart Gilbert is self explanatory- triggered by BU’s blog – 40 Million Port Scanners – True Cost Anyone?
The situation here is interesting because it was under Attorney General Dale Marshall’s watch there was much ambiguity about the cost of building the new Dodds prison. Again more ambiguity without imputing improper behaviour.
David, blogmaster
On Tue, May 7, 2019 at 8:46, Stuart Gilbert
I read the article on the link you sent and we all commented on it in the office here – $20m per unit is very very high!  To get even close to that number you would have to allow for a full service/maintenance schedule from external engineers (why would you not train local engineers to do it??) and full spares packs for 10 years.  Have the machines already been purchased then?

From: Mac Holder
Sent: 07 May 2019 13:37
To: Stuart Gilbert <>
Subject: Re: Your recent enquiry – Container Scanner – Ref E51415

Thanks for your response. The government of Barbados just announced they are buying two for US $20M. Thus there is much public outcry.

Kammie Holder


On Tue, May 7, 2019 at 5:47, Stuart Gilbert

<> wrote:

Dear Mr. Kammie Holder,

Re: Container Scanner – Our enquiry ref: E51415

With regard to your recent enquiry about the costs of container scanners it is not as straight forward as you might think – it will depend of the power of the scanner, what you are trying to scan for, whether it is a fixed or mobile installation and therefore whether ground works are required.

As a very rough price guide fixed truck/container scanners are around $1.8m (plus concrete shielding and groundworks) and mobile scanners are around $2.0m  by the time you have added in shipping, spares and training to the above it works out at roughly $3-4m per scanner.  Hope this helps

Yours sincerely


Stuart Gilbert

Head of Technology Division

Westminster Group Plc

Westminster House, Blacklocks Hill

Banbury, Oxon OX17 2BS

United Kingdom

M: +44 7943 804888   T: +44 1295 756300

40 Million Port Scanners – True Cost Anyone?

Dear BU
In the endless cause to stop violence and import of weapons the government has announced the procurement of 2 scanners at a cost of 40 million BBD.
It doesn’t take much searching to find the attached price list for RapiScan products, a top US manufacturer of all types of scanners including container/gantry scanning.
See Scanner Price List – Rapiscan Systems
It is quite evident that a scanner costs 900k-2 million USD.
How the government is allotting 10 million USD to a scanner is a question that should be asked.
Is this a classic example of over-billing with the extra money being kick backed to a corrupt politician/bureaucrat ?
If you at the BU could post this one way or another with my text or your own I would greatly appreciate it.
The fact that it took me 10 minutes of searching on the internet to find List Prices for Scanners just shows how stupid the politician must think we citizens are. How can they be so blatant to claim they are spending X dollars when we can see the cost is 35% of X.
Good day and I hope we can bring someone into the light of justice with this document and future article.
Concerned Bajan with Internet Access

Stolen Items from SEALED Barrels at Barbados Port Authority

The name of the party withheld by BU for obvious reasons [unedited]

Barrel trade is big business in the islands.

The Barrel trade is big business in the islands.

I have a story to tell! Here are the facts: 2 barrels were shipped from NYC to Barbados. Arrived in Barbados June 30th 2014. No document received via mail and no calls were made by the broker to inform of shipments’ arrival to Barbados. After finally getting through to the broker, we were advised that the forms were still with them and can be picked for clearance of said barrels. This is now July 10th 2014, TEN DAYS AFTER THE SHIPMENT ARRIVED ON THE ISLAND. Final day to collect barrels before flight back to NYC just 3 days after. My brother-in-law was the one who collected on our behalf and when the barrels arrive at home, there was NO PHYSICAL DAMAGE SHOWN TO EXTERIOR BUT TAPE WAS PLACED OVER COVER TO RE-SEAL WITH A NOTICE TO CHECK CONTENTS FOR DAMAGED BARREL. Finally opening the barrel at home after it was cleared with customs and this is what was discovered vs what was shipped…

1 half gallon Wesson Oil vs 5 half gallons shipped

1 bottle of Maxwell House instant coffee vs 8 to 10 bottles shipped

0 large containers of Lipton Iced Tea vs 4 large containers shipped

3 tubes of Crest toothpaste vs approximately 20 tubes shipped

0 bottles of 100% cranberry juice vs 3 lg bottles shipped

1 tin of Spam lite vs approximately 10 – 15 tins shipped

4 tins of Pink Salmon vs approximately 10 – 15 tins shipped

Continue reading

Sandra Husbands Lashes The Port Authority

Submitted by Brandford Padmore

Should we privatize the Port?

A familiar voice speaks about Port workers and the Union. It’s difficult to find a brutally honest public figure these days. The call to PRIVATIZE the Barbados Port Authority and send home all of those workers is understandable.

It seems like they take long to do jobs and are involved in a high level of _ _ _ .

Getting Serious About The Cost of Living Debate

Dennis Clarke, General Secretary, NUPW - Photo Credit: Nation

The audit tests revealed that for the financial years 2007-2009 in a sample of sixty-seven vehicles, forty-one (41) consigned to individuals, with a customs value of $485,233.39, were seen in the Customs computerized system ASYCUDA ++ as released without the payment of customs duty – Auditor General Report 2009 Section 3.82


BU wishes to congratulate new Editor in Chief of the Nation Newspaper Kaymar Jordan. Her effort to mobilize a national conversation about the politicised and worrying issue of the rising cost of living is commendable. We could question the motive of the Nation to align itself with the number one public concern,  there is significant earned media to be had maybe? Let us give the newspaper the benefit of a narrow doubt.

Unfortunately high expectations held by BU and others who attended the town hall meeting were not met. We could could point to the fact that Editor in Chief Kaymar Jordan was unable to control the mouthings of the panellists led by Minister Haynesley Benn who broke protocol by lambasting his host. Jordan’s inexperience as a moderator was also exposed by how she managed feedback from the floor, who wanted to hear Gline Clarke, Jepter Ince and others of that ilk?

Continue reading