The following is a reblog from Caribbean Empowerment blog – BU blogmaster
Submitted by Nathan ‘Jolly’ Green
CARICOM is the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world. It is a grouping of twenty countries: fifteen Member States and five Associate Members.
CARICOM is owned by the member countries and run by the member countries. So, if you have among those countries leaders who have elements of evil in their leadership, you will have the same aspect of evil in CARICOM.
Heads of Government have established a Quasi-Cabinet arrangement further to advance specific issues/areas within the Community. The decision to establish and develop the Quasi-Cabinet was taken at their Seventh Special Meeting (October 1999, Trinidad and Tobago), convened to deliberate on a Vision for the future of the Region. Within the Quasi-Cabinet, individual Heads of Government have responsibility for critical areas of Community Development.
All the leaders are aware of how each other attain the leadership of their countries. None of them is stupid; they know if and how vote rigging and cheating takes place, they have read about it. The problem with that is that if they sit back and do nothing about crooked elections, it must mean they condone such behaviour and are therefore more likely to do the same themselves. Making CARICOM little more than a breeding ground and nest of criminals.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a leadership which was allegedly installed on the policy of election fraud. All kinds of anomalies took place in SVG at the last election. People were voting in more than one constituency, dead people voting, planeloads of diasporan Vincentians who have not lived in SVG for years, sometimes decades, brought in on free air junkets to vote ULP. Extra ballots were said to have been stuffed on ballot boxes. Ballot boxes specially designed to allow fraud. When caught out instead of welcoming an enquiry into what happened to clear their name, they employed the Caribbean’s most expensive legal teams to fight in the courts to frustrate the claims in every way possible. Multi millions of taxpayer dollars were paid to these legal teams of lawyers and barristers. Election petitions which are supposed to ensure a quick and rapid hearing for such petitions were so cleverly manoeuvred that instead of being heard and adjudicated upon in months, five years later through the frustration of the system they are still languishing in the system and about to be overtaken by new elections. The further problem with that is that every CARICOM leader knows that, they do nothing so are deemed to condone such behaviour and must be considering adopting the same response to stay in power forever themselves.
Before each general election in Saint Vincent, thousands if not millions of dollars in envelopes are given out to villagers. Building materials are given away to villagers in what appears to be the buying of votes. The materials are not given away at any other time except in an election year running right up to midnight before polling day. Before the past election, there was $20 million-plus given away. This procedure is so blatant that Gonsalves has even announced the giveaway has started for next polls in a news release. This time around Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has announced the Ministry of Housing is in the process of distributing Building Materials to residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Speaking on NBC Radio, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the Government purchased 4.5 million dollars’ worth of building materials to be distributed. He said an assessment is being done by Officials from the Ministry of Housing to ensure there is a fair distribution of the materials.
Dr Gonsalves said there would be cases where additional assistance for some individuals will be considered.
The giveaway does not usually stop at the purchased amount; there are untold millions of dollars’ worth of materials in government yards. Last time they gave away that as well. When they had finished, they had given away every piece of building material, perhaps 50 to a 100 million dollars. Then conveniently a fire took place at the government storage yard offices which destroyed the distribution records. People had unneeded building materials stored in their gardens, sheds, and under their houses. Cement went hard and was unusable. Some who will be receiving again this time either sold what they got last time or still have the unused last bribery donation stored and deteriorating.
After reading this if CARICOM does nothing, it means they condone election skulduggery.
Ralph Gonsalves takes the CARICOM Chair soon; the other leaders should object, and Vincentians should sign an international petition against him being chair to CARICOM.
Not that it will do any good because the rules are designed for country leaders to be appointed on a revolving basis, little to do with ability or worthiness. CARICOM is being used as a personal private club for Caribbean leaders; they enjoy every minute of it so that none will rock the boat.
Peter Binose wrote about SVG’s election fraud several times, starting in 2014:
Saint Vincent’s electoral law is very clear on the matter of bribery:
I have written about it many times:
Ralph Gonsalves has read these articles many times and has never uttered a word.
In fact, he pays people to read everything that I write.
CARICOM and its leaders have read these articles many times and have done nothing.
CARICOM may well be described as the dirtiest party in these matters because there are so many learned people involved who sit on their hands and say nothing.
A General Election is scheduled to be held December 6, 2019 in Dominica. As a fellow Caricom state Barbadians should be concerned about the political instability being stoked by provocative language being reported on the political trail by BOTH political parties contesting the election manifested in daily street violence. The Caribbean in the main has been known as a zone of peace therefore Barbadians and others in the region should not feel detached from events currently unfolding next door in Dominica. A word to wise people should be enough.
Wishing the best for the people of Dominica on behalf of the BU household and family!
David, blogmaster (thanks to Tee White for the assist)
ON THE EVENTS IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA
CARIBBEAN ANTI-IMPERIALIST NETWORK [CAN]
04 DECEMBER 2019
The Caribbean must demand a peaceful election in Dominica
An appeal to CARICOM, individual Caribbean governments, political parties, religious and social organisations and individuals.
The upcoming election in the Commonwealth of Dominica which is scheduled to take place on Friday 6 December has become a focus of both regional and international attention.
The ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) is locked in bitter disagreement with the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) over the conduct of the election. As a result, the UWP has launched so far unsuccessful legal attempts to postpone the election while at the same time fielding candidates in each constituency. In addition, it has launched protests against the decision to go ahead with the election as scheduled.
Speaking at a campaign rally recently, one of the leaders of the UWP declared that the organisation would not accept the results of the election if they lost and would oust Roosevelt Skerrit, the leader of the DLP, from power in the same way that Evo Morales was ousted in Bolivia. The spokesperson further added that the UWP would gladly get the help of the Organisation of American States (OAS) to achieve its goal.
This position represents a serious danger to peace in Dominica and to the safety and security of Dominicans. If those who have outlined these aims are allowed to continue on this road, there is a serious danger of bloodshed and loss of life in Dominica. This is an outcome that the Caribbean must raise its voice against. There is no justification for shedding blood in Dominica over an election.
It is essential that everyone make themselves heard and demand in no uncertain terms that the election in Dominica be carried out peacefully, according to the laws of that country and that those who take part in the election abide by these laws and the procedures for challenging any alleged violations.
In this regard, it is necessary to condemn in the strongest possible terms the destructive interference of the OAS in the situation in Dominica. This organisation which is notorious for undermining democratic governance in the region, organising coups, backing racist forces and acting as an instrument for Washington organised regime change has been brazenly making demands of Dominica with regard to its election. The OAS must end its colonial interference in Dominica.
Today, the times demand that all of us raise our voices in unity to demand that the elections in that country be held peacefully and that those who are pushing the situation towards bloodshed step back from that dangerous course of action.
Caribbean Anti-imperialist Network.
Contact list for further information.
Shaun Hutchinson, Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 18687073668
David Denny, Email Address: email@example.com Tel: 12462864052
It seems Barbadians have forgotten about CLICO and all the promises but what have we learned from the collapse? How have we sought to strengthen institutional capacity as a response? Is the Financial Services Commission (FSC) doing a job? Should Barbadians be privy to the sealed judicial report? What about those who were involved with CLICO Barbados and continue business as usual?
Afra Raymond’s journey in Trinidad covering CL Financial matters should serve to inspire others. This piece is recommended reading.
Submitted by Corey and Karen Burns
It is with great disappointment that I have to express my disapproval with Liat and how Liat conducts business. Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from A to B quickly as possible. I find it preposterous that Liat can just change a flight plan while customers have already boarded the aircraft (on a direct flight I might add).
My wife and I were departing from our honeymoon in Antigua on Monday, October 28th, 2013 and were on Liat flight # 362 from Antigua to Puerto Rico which was a direct flight to San Juan. The flight was delayed of course (“island time”) however once on the aircraft an announcement was made that we were stopping in St. Kitts on our way to San Juan, but not five minutes later we were told that we were now going south to Dominica (total opposite way than San Juan). We arrived in Dominica at which time a grand total of 8 passengers boarded the plane. We were then told that we had to wait for a fuel truck, which was not ready when we arrived in Dominica. We ended up waiting on the tarmac for over an hour with no water, no food, and no air conditioning. I used to work in the airline industry and had that happened in Canada, PEOPLE WOULD BE FIRED!!! Numerous passengers asked for information about when we would be taking off and when we would be landing in San Juan as every passenger on the plane had a connecting flight to catch. None of Liat’s customer service agents would give us a straight answer. We finally left Dominica sometime after 1:30 pm, over an hour after we should have LANDED in San Juan.
Where is the transparency? Two letters to the Minister of Environment Denis Lowe and a full page in September have not even garnered a response from the government. Is this government serious about open government?
Thus can you post the above article from Dr David Suzuki who the Future Centre Trust is hoping along with Nature Conservancy and Greenpeace to ask for support? Thanks in advance on behalf of the other Environmental NGO’s
Kammie Holder, Advocacy Director, Future Centre Trust
Many urban areas have built or are considering building waste-incineration facilities to generate energy. At first glance, it seems like a win-win. You get rid of “garbage” and acquire a new energy source with fuel that’s almost free. But it’s a problematic solution, and a complicated issue.
Metro Vancouver has a facility in Burnaby and is planning to build another, and Toronto is also looking at the technology, which has been used elsewhere in the region, with a plant in Brampton and another under construction in Clarington. The practice is especially popular in the European Union, where countries including Sweden and Germany now have to import waste to fuel their generators.
You can excuse the DLP if it did not care to read the ‘National Strategic Plan 2005-2025. But Goal #6 of that document speaks, in part, to: “Branding Barbados Globally.” When you read it, you begin to understand why the demise of a Barbadian brand like Almond, is a national scandal. I suppose the same can be said about the DLP’ reluctance to spend a puny US$500,000 to save a $80m Rum Industry, which will result in “a-310-year-old-company” leaving Barbadian hands for the first time in its history.
Of all people, the BLP, which is responsible for the “National Strategic Plan Document,” should understand that the issue of “Sandals” – is more than the quantum of concessions or what is contained in some MOU, especially since the same National Strategic Plan sought “to continue consolidating the country’s international image, particularly on account of political stability, educational quality, democratic governance and good leadership.”
I do not know that the present Barbados Cabinet and Government – are showing good leadership on tourism right now” because “Almond” is a Barbadian-home-grown-international-families-brand,” which was on par (in the view of many) with Sandals, which is nothing more than a Jamaican home-grown-international-families-brand. That makes Ralph Taylor, the equivalent of the Jamaican Butch Stewart.
As we have now passed the latest ‘book-by’ date for the several times re-launched Barbados Island Inclusive promotion, is it time to analyse how cost effective the initiative has been? Especially as it was one of the very few, national marketing initiatives for this year that has either not been postponed, cancelled or simply just not implemented in the first place.
Just to remind readers, the stated objective was to generate an ‘additional’ 15,000 long stay visitors between the end of May and the 21st December 2013 who would spend BDS$30 million at a quoted cost of BDS$11 million to cover the promotional costs. Minister of Tourism (MOT), Mr. Sealy is on record as stating ‘all but $4 million will actually be spent on advertising’. On 22nd July 2013 the Barbados Government Information Service reported the MOT ‘had revealed that more than 5,000 tourists had taken advantage of the vouchers being offered under the programme’.
We know that even before the October figures are published, that ‘we’ are already experiencing an unprecedented 18 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline. So the word ‘additional’ is critical to evaluate because if the initiative had in fact generated any incremental numbers then it has been at a huge cost.
Submitted by Douglas
Finally, after many years of trying, Barbados’ tourism product will have the Sandals brand attached to it. Not just one but two properties; Sandals Couples at Casuarina and soon to come, Sandals Beaches at Heywoods. This year at the World Travel Awards’ 20th Caribbean and North American Gala, Sandals Resorts International won for the 20th consecutive time the title of the “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand.” Imagine the benefits that the Barbados tourism product will derive from having the Sandals brand marketing and selling Barbados.
Internationally, the news of the opening of Sandals Couples at Casuarina and the planned opening of Sandals Beaches have not gone unnoticed but it is creating a positive stir in the travel markets. In fact, it is projected that the country will benefit from increased airlift from the UK with the opening of Sandals in Barbados. A check of the website for Sandals resorts Barbados would reveal that since accepting its first guest on November 6, 2013 the 280 room hotel is fully booked up to March 2014. This indeed is positive news for Barbados. There are also plans to quickly increase the number of restaurants at the hotel from 3 to possibly 9. Do I hear, “employment opportunities”?
This is certainly a sign that something positive is happening in Barbados. Our tourism industry has just been given a tremendous jolt that would no doubt result in growth in the sector.
Submitted by Pachamama
In the national waste paper, otherwise called ‘The Nation’, we see Hilary Beckles praising that ‘organization’ and more importantly reverting to a language from his previous life in an effort to achieve two competing and contradictory goals. First, Beckles is seeking to promote a reparations agenda which he feels will bring resources to institutions that pretend to act in the interest of the country/region. Secondly and on the down side, in his mind, by appearing to resort to a language of confrontation, Beckles may be seeking to somehow insulate himself from the collapse of the neo-liberal project which, with the aid of buddy Owen Arthur, he has greatly benefitted from, now that what he sees as his legacy is in great and mortal danger.
To put this artificial and renewed interest in Black empowerment, which Beckles now feels confident to mouth, it is necessary to locate his circular and convenient logic within its proper historical context. Beckles came back to the region some decades ago and located himself within a bureaucratic apparatus which was to give him certain protections. It was, and still is, an institution which suborns narratives about Black disenfranchisement, by people like Keith Hunte, as a lever for their personal advancement. So like Hunte, Beckles, in this most recent reincarnation in using the same idiom for personal advancement. This is a brazen initiative for self. Not even his mentor, Keith Hunte, came back to that narrative more than once.
Excerpts related to tourism Budget Speeches 2008 to 2012:
There are some critical national concerns and a Tourism Master Plan is currently being designed by a new Unit in the Ministry of Tourism designed to look at our tourism development strategy in a holistic way addressing our product, land use policy, marketing, carrying capacity and linkages to our other sectors and the lives of Barbadians among other matters.
The expansion of the luxury tourism market will include the construction and opening every two years of a major internationally branded luxury hotel and associated branded residences catering to the five-star and ultra luxury tourism market.
The expansion of the luxury room stock will also assist in the establishment of the Health Tourism market in Barbados.
I [the late David Thompson’s first budget] have just returned from a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting at which tourism, regional and international transport were discussed for one full day. Some important decisions were taken including the commitment to a regional brand, the establishment of a Caribbean Tourism Marketing Fund and discussions are taking place between LIAT and Caribbean Airlines Limited on their future together – Budget 2008
To bloggers who listened to the radio clip (compliments of VOB) today which featured Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy defending governments washpan of concessions to CPH Property Holdings (Barbados) Limited and Grande Cass Management (Barbados) Limited together known as SANDALS – see Government’s Concessions to SANDALS Barbados, they would have been offended. He made reference to the front page of the Nation newspaper which carried a a story highly critical of the concessions given to Butch Stewart’s companies. And here is what some bloggers may deem to be offensive, he stated he expected what the Nation published to be posted on the blogs or discussed under a tamarind tree.
Minister Sealy is free to have his opinion afterall we boast of living in a democracy. However, when he feels bold enough to disparage what we do on the blogs, he invites a response from BU albeit a reluctant one.
Minister Sealy should bear in mind that BU is used prolifically by his colleagues to disseminate information which the traditional media is not geared to facilitate. Have we not had the pleasure of Minister Donville Inniss venturing into this forum to interact with BU bloggers when he sought to defend his choice of Kingsland as a possible location for a new hospital? Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner has posted to BU on several occasions. BU will not mention all the DLP politicos who post to BU using monikers. What does he make of his colleagues who post and read BU? Perhaps one day BU will be persuaded to post some of the comments posted to BU by the late Prime Minister David Thompson.
Analysis of the first nine months of 2013 in terms of long stay visitor arrivals confirm that while all major markets experienced substantial declines, the most resilient and therefore least impacted, was the United Kingdom with a 2.9 per cent fall when compared with the same period in 2012.
Give that so many discussions have taken place regarding the negative effects of the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty), some may find this surprising. To be fair credit must be given to the BTA staff in London and the private sector tourism sector on Barbados for stepping up to the plate, despite all the fiscal challenges, to minimise the overall decline in arrivals?
It is often touted that the typical British visitor stays longer and spends more money, and perhaps, these attributes are where we should be spending more of the precious available marketing funds to cultivate at this time. Politically we know that the volume of numbers is often all-important, but should ‘we’ currently be focusing on the bottomline in terms of the overall value contribution our visitors are making?
Shakadan Daniel’s death has drawn much concern in relation to modern legislative laws and litigation where we rely upon the professionalism of custodians and that of the penal system. Though many agree that human rights are of key significance in our society, very little has been done to educate the general populace on the Human Rights Conventions. Human Rights are fundamental to human development and shape our modern understandings of what actions are morally permissible when interacting within our own society. Rights structure very nature of governments, the content of our laws, and the shaping of our moral values and our ability to act responsibly to our fellow humankind. Such moralities and universal values are usually geared towards shaping our human and national development- in relation to personhood, collectivism and patriotism.
Felicia Browne, who was recently awarded a Ambassador for Peace, agrees that though our legal and human rights advocates have continued to advocate for justice and peace within our society, not much has been done to educate various sectors on Human Rights. Human Rights have been often seen as a nuisance in many social matters. However, it is imperative that the rights of others, regardless of soci-economic backgrounds, must be upheld by the State and human institution.
The funeral of Albert “Tank” Williams was today. “Tank” as he was known as, was formerly headmaster of Harrison College for many years, after having been a teacher there for many more years. Tank was also the brother of former chief justice Sir Denys Williams and of former justice of appeal Colin Williams and of former Barbados High Commissioner Monty Williams.
The Williams family, one of the greatest legal families in the Caribbean, was also inextricably linked to the equally legally and scholastically illustrious Marshall family, of which Sir Roy Marshall is a member, along with his sister, Monty Williams’ widow, Dorothy Williams, who Bajans of all walks of life know with deep affection as “Aunt Doro”, a leading lawyer and privy councillor. Also, there was classics scholar and teacher Winston Marshall, who was also a teaching colleague of Tank at Harrison College.
With the passing of Tank, so too an era has passed and BU remembers him with affection through amusing anecdotes. After all, Tank was a man of humour, including about himself. So, it is fitting that through humour we remember him.
Now that the majority of the developed economies, the OECD-member states, are growing, and Barbados has drifted deeper in to recession, we now await political and business leaders to tell us what are their master plans for rescuing, stabilising and growing the local economy. It means that finance minister Chris Sinckler and his adviser can no longer hide behind the crude excuse of the global crisis for their ineptitude. The ruling DLP is trapped between a lust for power and the development of an applied programme for economic change. We have seen that when faced with a serious economic crisis, it has no ideological depth to fall back on, no ideas of the kind of society it will like to see since its political modus operandi has always been the status quo. As a result it has been forced to seek economic ideas from an intellectually exhausted band of elderly academics who, clearly, have lost touch with new developments in their own discipline. So, like a comedian past his best days who depends on the old jokes told in the same way for his laughs, the old economists resort to their own post-war textbooks for the answers to new problems in a world with a new economic architecture.
Managing the Economy:
But, to coin a phrase, this time is different. Whatever the official explanation, walking on the ground in Barbados sends out all the wrong signals: shopping at Supersaver in Oistins, in the fish market, in Fairchild Street, and in other shops, supermarkets and hawker stalls, the story is different. While the middle classes, the majority of whom are public sector employees, those lower down the food chain are telling a different story: postmen and women are not being paid and are given letters to their mortgage lenders begging for a period of grace; the men and women who sweep and weed the side paths are also forced to borrow from friends and relatives because their wages are delayed; and members of some credit unions are begging them for repayment holidays so they can get their children through university. Yet, some banks and retail outlets are offering cheap credit as if partying on the Titanic.
Up until submitting this column, the Barbados Statistical Service had not yet posted either the August or September 2013 tourism arrival figures, so I suspect it will be sometime before figures for October this year are known, via this important agency. Fortunately, news agencies like Bloomberg extract the information from the Central Bank of Barbados and publish online, albeit some weeks later.
What we do know is that September 2013 recorded the lowest long stay visitor arrivals for any month during the last 11 years. October 2012 welcomed the lowest stay-over visitors for that month during the last decade and unless October 2013 exceeds 36,071 persons, that also will set yet other record, sadly not one we want to boast about. I don’t think a single individual on Barbados is not aware of the current Government’s fiscal challenges, but surely there is no better time to channel all available human resources into areas where a positive difference could be made.
Over the last few weeks I have been viewing tourism from a different perspective. That of a potential first time investor into Barbados and sadly, if ‘we’ are honest and objective, there are many areas we are sadly lacking. Some may even say, deficient. Bearing in a mind, a non-national considering investment in Barbados, at least initially, may not be familiar with the various agencies and their names mandated to smooth the process. So the first port-of-call is likely to be the website of the Ministry of Tourism (MOT). In a seriously competitive sector with dozens if not hundreds of destinations seeking to attract the all-important foreign venture capital, that introductory impression is critical.
The Universal Peace Federation of North America and Caribbean Nations held a conference in Miami over two days, the 1st and 2nd of November. The theme will be “The USA and the Caribbean at a Turning Point: Building a Nation and a World of Peace” with speakers attending from the US and Caribbean.
President of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute, Ms. Felicia Browne, attended and discussed the influenced on Moral Education, Youth Development & Peace. Ms. Browne is also a lecturer in Philosophy of Law, Gender, Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, as well as being a prominent gender and rights advocate from Saint Lucia. Eight Caribbean representatives from various institutions, including Ms. Browne was elected as Ambassadors of Peace by Universal Peace Federation.
The following was circulated to those who signed the petition by James Lynch, PETITION FROM THE TRAVELLING PUBLIC TO THE OWNERS OF THE CARIBBEAN AIRLINE LIAT.
You need to know that LIAT are about to have another huge meltdown. Yes, it’s probably going to happen again, and maybe even worse.
All the ATR Pilots trained at the beginning before the aircraft were delivered are now due for re-currency training, and many of the senior pilots are going on their usual booked holiday in December. That’s the start of it.
So, unless somebody comes up with a small (large?) miracle, LIAT are going to have to park many of their planes and cancel/reschedule/ delay many of their flights.
LIAT management were warned by both the ECCAA (the Civil Aviation Authority) and the LIAT Pilots Association LIALPA that this was going to happen unless they made alternate plans (LIALPA also warned Brunton before the first meltdown), so the many shortages which came to a head in August are going to be dwarfed by what is about to happen again at LIAT approaching and during the Christmas Season.
After a few days in Barbados, mostly resting, but spending time with friends and acquaintances alike, I have returned with a feeling of deep sadness for a nation for which I have a very deep affection. But, we have a situation in which the national political discourse has been reduced to a leading minister inviting the leader of the official Opposition to strip naked and run down Broad Street, our main thoroughfare, to grab attention. While, at the same time, the governor of the central bank could announce that the economy is in recession and the minister of finance, the captain of the nation’s economy, did not see fit to respond to, the Opposition did not speak out on, our academic economists kept their opinions to themselves nor did our feeble media see it fit to inform their readers.
As I have said before, the nation is in serious crisis, only this time it is much worse than it previously was. Yet, there is an epidemic of denial: a police force that is imploding and cannot properly guard against organised criminality, medieval religious practices and family abuse. We are a nation that has lost faith in itself, when we could appoint a Canadian – repeat the word, Canadian – as head of our football association and every spare bit of land bought by dubious foreigners because our policymakers are addicted to foreign reserves. The New Barbados has also lost its moral purpose, its sense of decency, as is reflected in the obscenities that desecrate the airwaves as a matter of course; of the total national silence when a toddler can make sexual gestures over an apparently drunken woman at Crop Over, our leading cultural event; when our leading news paper thinks that pornographic pictures of juveniles having sex in a class room is newsworthy. Even more, not a single senior executive or director of the publishing firm has made a public statement about the obscenity. If ever there was a case for ordinary Barbadians to show their power as consumers and ban that publication, it is now. This is a long way from the nation I know as a young man, when, in the 1960s it was exporting people to work on London buses, trains and in the national health service, routinely gave them a printed booklet on how to behave in Britain. Those were days when the nation was concerned about its global reputation as reflected in the behaviour of its citizens.
Submitted by Pachamama
For years we have been the canary in the coal mine for misguided Caribbean elites as we shouted to the top of our voices our central refrain that capitalism has failed and that that failure presented Caribbean peoples with equally great opportunities to play a larger role in the world as we determine our common destiny. Despite our best efforts nobody in officialdom in a backward Caribbean took us seriously. The elites in academia, like Hilary Beckles, thought it impossible – impossible for capitalism to collapse. The elites in economy were so busily gorging themselves with the crumbs from massa’s table to think about such a tectonic shift and its implication for Caribbean peoples. The political elites, like Chris Sinckler, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur and their parties were, and still are, so captured by a faux and dead political-economy model that they found it impossible to raise their heads from the cool aid of a Washington Consensus, neo-liberal, monarchist acili. They have failed to accurately measure the internal contradictions of capitalism and now must be removed as the system continues to fail.
We however welcome the remarks, late as they are, from Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony as covered by a nearly useless Barbadian newspaper. We quote below:
We knew all along that UNSUSTAINABLE small island satellites would be eventually jettisoned by the Mother Slave Ship. That is why some fought for a Caribbean federation, and now today some point to the Garvey vision of GLOBAL AFRICANS UNITING ON THE PRINCIPLE OF SELF SUFFICIENCY.
Many abandoned the Garvey idea of pooling resources for collective investment, and tried instead to refine the art of begging, and put their efforts into CULTIVATING BETTER RELATONSHIPS WITH THE SLAVE OWNERS for the sake of grants and loans and favoured preferential status.
They did not have the vision to see that the major share of the money from their spectacular AID-DEPENDENT projects would continue to make the rich richer while purporting to be generating employment and progress for the poor.
But CANT SEE still CANT SEE.
IT IS NO WONDER THAT THOSE WHO FORMERLY SCOFFED AT THE IDEA OF REPARATIONS ARE NOW SOLIDLY ON THE BANDWAGON.
See article: Region on the brink
Submitted by Due Diligence
In July 2012 ARI/N&M sold Almond Beach Club, to Fairweather Holding Co., which operates Elite Island Resorts for $33 million, the proceeds of which was used to pay down bank debt that had been incurred to keep ARI afloat.
It is not clear who owns/controls Fairweather/Elite, January 4, 2013, the Jamaica Gleaner reports that Couples is finalizing negotiations to purchase Casuarina.
“Couples Resorts is finalising a deal to acquire a hotel in Barbados, making it the first Jamaican resort group to venture into that market. It’s also Couples’ first venture outside of its home market. Couples chief executive officer, Glenn Lawrence, confirmed plans on Wednesday to purchase the 280-room Almond Casuarina Beach (ACB) Club in the eastern Caribbean island. “We are involved in firm negotiations,” said Lawrence, adding that the deal was expected to conclude on or before January 31, at which time more details would be forthcoming.”
For undisclosed reasons, Couples did not purchase the property; but January 29, 2013, announced it had agreed to manage Casuarina (it turns out) under a lease.
In an article in the Trinidad Guardian about N&M dated May 22, 2013, included “The group continues to unwind its hotel properties. The Jamaican-based Couples Hotels have leased Almond Casuarina Beach; the lessee has an option either to acquire the hotel by September 30, 2013, or enter into a long-term lease arrangement.
Submitted by Mark T Jones – London-based writer and commentator on International Affairs
Those who routinely dismiss politics as boring have evidently never experienced elections in Trinidad & Tobago. With a key bi-election on 4th November 2013 things look certain to become hot, hot, hot.
St Joseph takes considerable pride in the fact that as San José de Oruña from 1592-1783 was the capital of Trinidad. The constituency is racially balanced, with a mixture of the comfortably off as well as those who struggle to make ends meet. St Joseph invariably acts as a bell-weather that enables local psephologists to gain a fair indication of what the mood of the country is. In addition this bi-election has added importance in that it was triggered by former MP Herbert Volney’s decision to resign from the United National Congress (UNC) and join the Independent Liberal Party (ILP). Such an important election has ensured that there has been considerable interest in the candidates and some appear to be far from run of the mill.
Crime and illegal activity has long been a pre-occupation and concern of the islands’ inhabitants and so it came of little surprise that TV6’s show Crime Watch proved to be so popular. The show ensured that its hosts Ian Alleyne and Om Lalla have become household names, a fact that both figures have sought to capitalise upon by entering the political arena. Alleyne, a man with an extremely high sense of his own worth and Lalla, a fiercely bright and ambitious individual forged a powerful partnership on screen and an extraordinary close friendship off screen. In television terms Crime Watch became something of a phenomenon, a show that with the additional credibility of the presence of Police Inspector Roger Alexander, appeared to be on a mission to become the scourge of criminal behaviour. For all their celebrity status, the two hosts as self proclaimed guardians of public safety have at times proved more than fallible. Alleyne has been no stranger to controversy having in the past compared himself with the Messiah. He demonstrated a gross error of judgement and extremely bad taste when the programme he fronted (and has the local rights too) showed footage of a teenage girl being raped with her face and that of the attacker clearly visible. The adverse reaction for TV6 was such that when his contract was up for renewal they chose not to renew it and he moved Crime Watch to CNC3.
All too often, we see our children in the news. Whether rape, theft or murder, we see too many of our future generation making headlines for all the wrong reasons. We have to now look at ways to reverse the growing trend of youth crime and violence. And, peace education is one of the best ways to resolve and reduce these crimes. Informed learning can provide alternatives to resolve social conflicts within our society. Many young persons may not have the ability to know the difference between crime and its effects on the community, the society and the self. But if clearly demonstrated, they can be taught and in turn, encourage a positive message amongst their peers.
President of the Caribbean Mentorship Institute, Felicia Browne notes that “the past few weeks, and in the last 24 hours we have witnessed a rising trend of violence amongst our youths. There are deep fundamental questions that must be investigated to provide the best solutions to their problems. However, crime-prevention education and conflict interventions can alleviate some of these existing problems. The growing concerns of youth advocates are the age groups and genders of these victims. The victims of violence crimes have little or no social assistance to resolve their problems. For instance, we are observing a trend in young males being victims of violent crimes- some of which are or have been done by either a family member, friend within their circle or someone within their communities.”
The Time to Face the Facts Show will host this week our resident tourism commentator Adrian Loveridge. We understand also on the panel will be former minister of tourism Noel ‘Barney’ Lynch to discuss Facts about the Caribbean’s tourism. Respect to Adrian for agreeing to be in the same space as Lynch after the embarrassment he suffered at Voice of Barbados in 2007.
Keeping the spotlight on the CLICO Mess.
Assistant Superintendent met with the Commission on 22 July, 2011. She gave an account of a meeting she attended with Commissioner of Police and Inspector Anderson Bowen, during which meeting the Commissioner manipulated his laptop computer and played a recording of a telephone conversation between Inspector Bowen and another person…
(Extracted from the Police Service Commission Recommendation of Retirement of the Commissioner of Police)
The passing of Inspector Anderson Bowen has given reason for pause in the BU household. While many may remember his exploits to capture the fiercest criminal, BU will always remember him for daring to challenge Commissioner Darwin Dottin in 2005 and as a consequence suffer uncalled for indignity before his peers when he was disciplined in 2007. Although he was reinstated by the Police Service Commission in 2010, his career had been effectively derailed by Dottin.
Even though it has not become widespread public knowledge, September 2013 became the 18th consecutive month of long stay visitor decline and recorded the lowest stay-over arrivals of any month in the last 11 years. As someone who has invested their life savings and 25 years in the Barbados tourism industry, it give me no pleasure to state this unpleasant fact but someone has to say it. If only in the interests of survival.
The time for remedial action has long since passed. Once again it is now a case of damage limitation and focusing on what the private sector can do for itself to avoid annihilation of the industry as we know it. This may at first appear dramatic but you only have to look around at other businesses on the island to understand that a sector who has been financially drained for a year and a half cannot be immune from the same challenges others are facing.
Not that our policymakers are listening, but I am going to make a few suggestions:
Submitted by Hamilton Hill
I have long held fast to the belief that hypocrisy like the broken trident is symbolic of things Bajan. As I listened to Brasstacks today [Oct 18, 2013] on the Voice Of Barbados, I was reminded why. Caller after caller demanded to hear an apology from the minister of finance Chris Sinckler. Not because every single strategy….short, medium or long term employed by the minister has failed miserably, not because he has been fitted with a cloak of ignominy as the first ‘economist’ to be stumped by a decimal point, but because of a play that if nothing else is certainly par for the course as it relates to what we have accepted as party politics in the country that we all claim to love so much. Are we serious here?
We are burdened with an administration that has clearly lost its way, or better put has not yet found its intended path. A government that through its indecisiveness cannot frequently address the nation, and here we are allowing the real issues to be over shadowed by a proffered opinion, one politician about another. Are we serious here?
To the feminist movement that now demand and rightly so the instant halt to disrespect of our women, I ask you this. Does the name Andrea Symmonds ring a bell? It was right here in this very forum that this writer read that the source of her distress was pressured to demit office by none other than Mia Motley, only to be reinstated in a nanosecond by Mr. Arthur who had forced Miss Motley from her position. Where were you then? When the steps to Senator Sandiford-Garner’s office were coated in human faeces back in 2008 where were your melodious voices then? Remind me of the stance you took when the police forcefully took the cameras from the female journalists a few years ago.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley took about 3 hours to introduce the Cultural Industries Development Bill 2013 to parliament today (15/10/2013). BU is happy the government recognizes the opportunity which the cultural industries sector offers. What we are not happy about is that key concerns which were highlighted by the Concerned Creative Citizens Group (CCCG) have not been included in the bill introduced. At the top of the list is the Idi Amin authority which any Minister of culture will have under the proposed bill. What was downright egregious was the minister’s unwillingness to acknowledge the significant work done by the CCCG providing feedback on the draft bill in his three hour introduction.
Hope springs eternal and we are hopeful that it is not too late to incorporate constructive suggestions. BU takes this opportunity to congratulate Andrea King who has been appointed to the position of Film Commissioner.
See related links:
We use to hear the objective was to build a society. However it has become all about the economy in recent months. Click on the image above to read the latest International Monetary Fund projection for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
EMERA Caribbean President Sarah MacDonald has signalled that the company will be applying to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) for a rate increase in the near future. The Canadian owner of Barbados’ sole electricity generation and distribution company intends to build a 60 megawatt power generation plant. We have been told that the current plant is old and inefficient. The bad news is that consumers are likely see their base rate move up BUT with anticipated improvement in operating efficiency the fuel adjustment should move down giving users a net benefit.
And in related news.
The FTC has completed its review of the best method the Barbados Light & Power must calculate the Fuel Adjustment Clause (FAC). The recommendation from the consultant and accepted by the FTC is that the BL&P will have to use its historical cost of fuel and NOT projected cost when administering the FCA.
Reports circulating in the international media indicate 12 Caricom countries along with Haiti and Suriname have initiated proceedings to sue three former colonisers, Britain, France and the Netherlands. This is good news for many Blacks in the Caribbean who believe (and justly so) that the heinous practice of slavery must be addressed in a material way. Why should it be addressed? The societies of the mentioned colonisers have benefited from untold wealth which has been acquired as a result of sweat,blood and tears shed our ancestors. It does not matter if slavery was an accepted practice of those times. What matters is that it was a heinous act which has stained history’s page and said page should now reflect those who benefitted most address it!
The region recently appointed Sir Hilary Beckles to head Caricom’s reparations committee. He has not wasted any time lighting a fire under the issue. The committee has secured the services of British law firm Leigh Day whose reputation was enhanced recently when the it won compensation for hundreds of Kenyans arising from the Mau Mau rebellion.
Although there is no official figure given of the repatriations claim a few regional newspapers have suggested £200 billion, the equivalent to the £20 million paid to slave owners in 1834 when slavery was abolished. Prime Minister Ralph Gonzales, the most vocal of regional leaders, stated in a speech to the UN recently that “The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples.”
“The likes of Aruba, The Bahamas, Bermuda and Trinidad are the most attractive issuers from the Caribbean, he said, while Panama and El Salvador are popular markets in Central America. Barbados, at one time, was among the list of most attractive issuers, but its economy has faltered since the 2008 world financial crisis.”
Read the full article in the The Gleaner
The quote is attributed to Gregory Fisher, Managing Director of Institutional Emerging Markets Sales at Oppenheimer & Company. Oppenheimer for those who want to be assured of their credentials, is one of the leading investment banks in the world and has been around for 125 years.
And why have we focused on the Fisher comment?
Less than a week after the Caribbean Court of Justice delivered the Shanique Myrie decision which went against Barbados, we have a leading player in the global investment market making a comment which has made another big withdrawal from Barbados’ reputational capital. The fact the comment followed the withdrawal of a Tender Offer by the Barbados government less than two weeks ago because it was undersubscribed gives heavy credence to Fisher’s assessment.
BU has updated the following submission at the request of a BU family member who wishes to remain anonymous.
Why have none of the banks who had their ATM’s compromised over the weekend notified their customers in an official capacity – whether it be a statement via media or using our contact details (phone or e-mail) – and give them some indication of when they will be getting their stolen monies back?
People are going to the bank themselves to report the matter, and we are given forms (a standard dispute form more or less) to fill out by a bank rep, and then we are being told to go to the police station to report the matter (which we did). The police are only able to take your complaint and tell you that the matter is being investigated.
Due to the number of people affected by this crime, a special customer service desk should be set up promptly at all the banks with one or more staff members (probably someone more senior than junior) to deal specifically and ONLY with this matter. It is almost like business as normal at the bank, you go in to report that your money was stolen and you more or less have to wait like everyone else. You have to deal with an overwhelmed customer services rep who is being bombarded with numerous complaints and doing the best he/she can to assist, but is obviously overwhelmed by the nature and capacity of it all (not their fault). Some people had virtually everything stolen and only have $20 left on their accounts.
Reproduced from the UK Telegraph
Ulric Cross, who has died aged 96, is thought to have been the most decorated Caribbean airman of the Second World War; he went on to enjoy a distinguished career in Trinidad as a judge and diplomat.
Cross was working for Trinidad Railways when the war broke out, and was anxious to play his part. “The world was drowning in Fascism and America was not yet in the war,” he later recalled. “So I decided to do something about it and volunteered to fight in the RAF.”
Philip Louis Ulric Cross was born on May 1 1917 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and won a government scholarship to St Mary’s College. His first job was with the Trinidad Guardian before he spent four years working in a solicitor’s office. In 1941, after three years working for the railway, he joined the RAF and sailed for England.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) decision between Shanique Myrie and Barbados (Jamaica the Intervener) continues to resonate across the region – editorials, talk shows and on the streets. What is evident is that members of Caricom need to better manage how we promote freedom of movement given our obligation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramus (RTC).
There is the view that significant weight was given by the CCJ to the 2007 Conference Decision by Heads of Caricom [item 45]. In simple terms: can we say that the decision handed down last week is what Heads of Caricom intended in 2007 i.e. “definite entry of six months …”. The fact that Barbados argued against the efficacy of the 2007 decision without a single intervention from another Caricom member was taken as acquiescence by the CCJ. Barbados therefore has to abide by the decision until such time a similar case in re-argued before a CCJ with justices of a different interpretation or lobby to have Heads modify the decision at the next Heads of Caricom meeting.
Loud by its silence has been the reaction of Barbados to the decision. The DNA of the Barbados government is to be slow in deliberation. One wonders though if the Prime Minister sees a need to demonstrate a departure from the norm given the psychological punch Barbadians have taken since the decision was delivered. Is there a role for the leader of the country in the prevailing circumstances?
Property Tax is back and the controversy has naturally returned since the ‘Axe the Tax‘ movement was a signal moment of unity in the anti-PNM campaigns of 2009/2010.
In my opinion, the anti-Property Tax movement was an important measure of the extent to which our national discourse is now irrational and baseless. The disenchantment with the Manning administration and the thirst to have them removed seemed to occupy more time than any substantial discussion as to the merits of the proposed Property Tax.
Now, as then, I hold the view that our nation’s Property Tax regime is long-overdue for reform and updating. I support the proposals to do so and we will have to wait for more detail to analyse these proposals further.
Here are a few of the basic facts on Property Tax.
The size of the Property Tax Take – Proportionally
The Estimates of Revenue disclose that in 1995 property tax was 2% of tax revenue and in 2009 it was expected to be a mere .18%. Property tax, when last collected, contributed a small fraction of the amount it did 15 years ago. The official projections for the Property Taxes proposed by the PNM were for that revenue to increase to $325M in 2010 – even at that level, the contribution would have barely exceeded 1% of the national tax revenue.
Submitted by Napolean Bonaparte
Time we unleash our true potential. The United Kingdom has taxed and barricaded our other crops like sugar and bananas, even tourism (APB) almost to non existence. Think that was by chance? Think again and while we at it, reconsider the Vincentian Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves’ position.
We sitting on a gold mine !
We were asked to share the following article with the BU family. Although against our policy which is to be original in our postings sometimes we have to concede when there is merit in deviating from policy.
Business: LIAT’s turning point?
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
THE Caribbean is a diverse multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-genre (musical) and multi-lingual region officially made up of an archipelago of islands and selected mainland emerging territories nested between North and South America, Central America in the West and the Atlantic Ocean in the East, in and bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
The 17 English heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (7); South (7) and West (3) with an estimated population of six million, including the mainland territories of Belize and Guyana. The six French heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (5) and South (1) with an estimated population of 17.2 million, including the mainland territory of French Guiana. The seven Dutch heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (3); South (1) and West (3) with an estimated population of 0.8 million, including the mainland territory of Suriname. The three Spanish heritage administrations in the Caribbean sea are all in the North with an estimated population of 22.5 million, including the US territory of Puerto Rico. There are 33 Caribbean administrations with a total population of 46.5 million, albeit over managed, which is not to be ignored as a geographical market to be explored within the wider Latin American and Caribbean region.
The compilation and research for this submission was done by BU family member Due Diligence with minor edits by BU.
The long-awaited Tourism Master Plan for Barbados is expected to be ready by September this year  Saying he recognized the plan had been promised for a long time now, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy revealed to the annual general meeting – Barbados Today
The author joins with Barbadians who want to see a growing, profitable and sustainable tourism industry; I do not want to be negative; but I have to be blunt. As I see it, there is no way to sugar coat the current state of tourism in Barbados. Some time in 2010, the Government of Barbados (Ministry of Tourism) issued an Invitation for Expressions of Interest for the Development of a Tourism Master Plan for Barbados for the Period 2012-2021. The Expressions of Interest were to be delivered not later than 4:30 pm on June 30, 2010. Full details of the Invitation can be read here on the Barbados Tourism website. Also here is a Press Release which notified Barbadians and others about what to expect from the Tourism Master Plan.It is September 18, ( 3+ years after Expressions were to be tendered and 3 months after the Plan was to be completed). Unless I have missed it there is still no Barbados Tourism Master Plan which Minister Sealy announced in April would be completed by June (2013).
The Plan may, in fact, have been completed; but if so why has this open, transparent and full disclosure Government not released the completed Plan, if only to invite public discussion. The Minister is reported to be in London [last month], doing what? at the taxpayers’ expense, while Rome burns. Even by Barbados government standards this is shocking. If the Plan is not released and deemed to be viable, the IMF will supply a plan.
First impressions and attention to detail in tourism, I suspect like most sectors can make all the difference whether you retain a customer, or in this case, a visitor. While flying back into Barbados last week, my thoughts were that despite all the time ‘we’ have been involved in the hospitality industry, have ‘we’ really learnt from our mistakes.
While exiting a Virgin Atlantic plane, the second half-full flight on this route that I was personally experiencing in eight days, I funnelled through with the other passengers to immigration. Looking up, many of the overhead walkway ceilings were dirty, cobwebbed and frankly, badly in need of painting.
Reduced airport earnings may be an issue, but what does it take to use some of the currently wasted space to offer advertising opportunities, that would in turn pay for any increased maintenance costs to keep these areas clean. Next you are confronted with what must have been relatively expensive full colour large decals, promoting not as you would reasonably expect, upcoming events, but a 2013 Crop Over Season that ended weeks ago.
Submitted by Guild Watchdog
While some University Students are worrying about the Governments new policy forcing them to pay tuition fees at The University of the West Indies. It was chaos and turmoil at The Roy Marshall Teaching Complex at The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus on Thursday night; for the convening of a Guild Council Meeting when once-removed Treasurer of the Guild, Ital Spencer was the centre of contention and disruptive behaviour forcing University Security to end the meeting prematurely.
Mr. Spencer, who was also the Guild Treasurer on the previous Guild Council was accused of manipulating his authority to obtain absolute power and threatening other council officers. These accusations, which offend the Constitution of the Guild and the University’s Code of Ethics warranted him a trial of ‘No Confidence for Recall’ at the hands of the student population resulting in his removal last November.
Sources close to the Cave Hill Guild Council have stated Mr. Spencer dod not submit financial reports, has been accused and proven of using the students’ Guild funds for personal benefit, for example, a first class flight to Jamaica last UWI Games among other aggravated offenses. To this end, the President of the Guild, Mr. Damani Parris, has suspended Mr. Spencer pending another Special Meeting of the Student Body to affect the removal of Mr. Spencer.
On Wednesday, 25th September, 2013 the majority membership of the student executive voted ‘No Confidence’ in Mr. Ital Spencer and have therefore recommended to the student population that he be removed.
Submitted by Martin Cedriann (UNAIDS Caribbean)
As world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations General Assembly to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, a new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows dramatic acceleration towards reaching 2015 global targets on HIV.
The 2013 Report on the global AIDS epidemic highlights progress towards the 2015 HIV targets, notably a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001.
The report and supporting materials are available on the UNAIDS website at: www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/globalreport2013/
Attached are the global press release as well as one which shares information and data that are specific to the Caribbean. Please feel free to contact me should you need additional information.