How Dirty is CARICOM?

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.

Dominica General Election 2019

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)




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.

  1. Shaun Hutchinson, Email Address: Tel: 18687073668

  1. David Denny, Email Address: Tel: 12462864052

CL Financial bailout – Really learning from the past

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.

Complaint Letter To LIAT Airline

Submitted by Corey and Karen Burns
Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

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.

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Government MUST be Transparent About the Waste to Energy Plant

Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe,

Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe,

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.

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DLP: Bajans Not Good Enough – Neither Can They Reach Jamaicans High Standards – Work Permits Therefore Necessary

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

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.

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Unanswered Questions About the ROI on Tourism Initiatives

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

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.

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Of Sandals and Scandals

Submitted by Douglas
Sandals Barbados

Sandals Barbados

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.

Ministerial Statement (Minister of Tourism)

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The Hilary Beckles Deception

Submitted by Pachamama
Sir Hilary Beckles, pro-vice-chancellor, University of the West Indies

Sir Hilary Beckles, pro-vice-chancellor, University of the West Indies

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.

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Is the Ministry of Tourism Underachieving?

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

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Minister Richard Sealy is a Pedigree JA

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

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.

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Tourism Budget, Doing More With Less

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

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?

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Gender Justice Advocate Calls for more Human Rights Laws

Human and Gender Justice Advocate - Felicia Browne

Human and Gender Justice Advocate – 

Felicia Browne

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.

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