Adrian Loveridge Column – Poor Service by Foreign Banks

During the current lockdown it’s perhaps an ideal opportunity to reflect on the positives and negatives of an everyday small business and hope that these experiences can benefit us all in the recovery days to come.

While not directly tourism related, any reasonable person has to ponder what on earth was on the minds of the management of one or more ‘local’ banks to increase their charges during the current pandemic, especially when it was abundantly imminent that another lockdown was about to be enacted.

When the majority of customers are already reeling from the effects of dramatically reduced ‘service’ delivery, the closure of branches without any meaningful consultation with the people who fund their operation and being literally forced into migrated online websites, some of which are far from user-friendly.

In our own personal transactions over the last couple of months, the tardy response of at least two different banks that we deal with have caused us substantial monetary losses and hugely increased unnecessary stress.

Even when the particular bank makes obvious mistakes, the procedure often involves lengthy phone calls to remote ‘customer care’ centres and spent precious hours rectifying their problem, all at our expense, in terms of time and resources, without even a hint of an apology or compensation.

Sadly as a country we have grown to accept a diminished level of service from our financial institutions, at least partially due to Government default of debt, giving these organisations little opportunity other than to extract additional revenue from the ‘little people’ to make up that deficit.

What is so alarming is that the overwhelming number of businesses here, both small and large, will critically depend on these lending entities to sustain them until some degree of normality and viability returns.

And with seemingly such detached directors at the top of the management tree, which can only be a logical explanation for the poor levels of service meted out by the lower level of employees, it is difficult to comprehend how many of our private sector entities will survive.

Perhaps the biggest puzzle is why do we tolerate such a general poor level of service, when the majority of these foreign owned banks could not get away with it in their own domains located in the more developed countries?

My first days as a lifetime entrepreneur at the age of 12 years were spent walking door-to-door with a cheap suitcase selling kitchen items to houses in the UK from the monies I earned selling imperfect shirts from stalls in markets like London’s Petticoat Lane.

In the near six decades that have followed, I have desperately tried to understand how bank managers and their employers rationally think and sadly, do not appear to be any closer to comprehending them.

But I do know that unless there is a seismic shift in the way that ‘our’ banks respond to the immediate needs of local small to medium size businesses in the very near future, many of those enterprises will cease to exist by the end of this year.

That will inevitably take a further toll on Government coffers, so perhaps it is now long overdue that the current administration bites the bullet and encourages banking reform.

Adrian Loveridge Column – Sleight Promotion

Delivering consistently good customer service, across the board, has for a long time has been one of the greatest and contentious challenges on Barbados.  And even if locals have been conditioned to accepting the many failings, our visitors are starting to rebel, contending whether increasingly high prices, are indeed offering actual value-for-money or justifying the prices charged.

While running a business may not totally equate to the same experience as the majority of our visitors, there are clear overlapping areas where guests to our shores are confronted, if not challenged with poor and indifferent services.

Our banks are a classic case.

Their given mission statements often appears to alienate everyone, regardless of origin and they seldom seem to learn by their mistakes. If only each ‘manager’ would become a customer for a day and subject themselves to what any ordinary mortal has to endure.

Recently I received through the post (mailed in Canada) a personalized (Christian name) letter stating ‘You’ve been selected for a card upgrade’. Two telephone numbers were shown on the document and as I had some queries called the first, a local number which eventually connected me to a remote offshore call centre, perhaps in Jamaica. The ‘agent’ after extracting all necessary security information, knew nothing about the promotion, as frequently happens, so obviously, they were unable to help with my questions.

This outsourcing of such a critical component of good service delivery seems to have become a fashionable trend among larger organisations, in their apparent belief that it brings reduced operating expenses, often to areas where some of the employed staff even struggle to speak the same language.

The second number under the name of the local branch manager connected me to a voicemail, where I left contact details. Much later in the day, the assistant manager called and was again unable to answer my concerns, but promised to call me back the following Monday, which sadly he did not, or the next day.

And subsequent emails to the Managing Director, branch manager and other senior personnel remain unanswered up until submission of this column.

The credit card promoted promised ‘You’re on your way to more places’ offered a sign-up bonus of 7,000 points provided the card was used for a minimum spend of BDS$1,500 by 31st March 2020.  Subsequent purchases using the card would earn 1 point for every US$1 spent. And went on to promise ‘Just 20,000 points, earns you a flight to New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, or anywhere in the Caribbean’ and ‘all for the annual fee of BBD$199’.

Now remember the opening statement mentioned ‘upgrade’.

Our current credit card (issued by the same bank) includes one which offers a cash back facility that pays a minimum of 1% (other purchases) and a maximum of 4% (groceries/gas).

So for the new ‘upgrade’ card to achieve sufficient points for one airline ticket it would require a minimum spend of BDS$27,500, plus the upfront cost of the annual fee.

Using our existing card, which has a much lower annual fee, that same BDS$27,500 would return at least $275 in cash back and as much as BDS$1,100 at the higher rate.

So where is the ‘upgrade’?

Is it an ‘upgrade’ in bank profit?

We have become all too willing or docile to accept a level of service here that would never be tolerated in the domain of these foreign companies.

Pay the Ransom


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

I visited the Bahamas to examine the damage from Hurricane Dorian. When I returned, I received a message from Flow to pay my phone bill. They said that I owed $383. Using Internet Banking, I paid $400 – then Flow blocked me from making calls from my cell phone.

After three days of inconvenience, I called Flow. They said that my account was in credit, but I was blocked from making calls until I paid $140 in roaming charges.
I explained that I paid the amount that Flow gave me. She said that the roaming charges were separate. I asked whether some of the money I already paid could be transferred to pay the roaming charges, so that I could use my phone immediately. She said that to use the phone immediately, I would have to visit Flow’s office.
I have learned that with some companies, I must look on the bright side to avoid getting overly frustrated. So, I decided that it could have been worse – Flow could have blocked me when I was in the Bahamas, which would have been disastrous.
I had to meet a client at 3:15 pm, and it was 2:15 pm. So I decided to risk going to the Flow office in Windsor Lodge first. I arrived at 2:43 pm.
The cashier said that my bill was already paid and was actually in credit. I explained about the roaming charges. She said that I could not pay those yet. I had to first visit one of their customer service agents, who would transfer the charges to their system.
The customer service agent told me that I had to pay $260. I asked what happened to the $140. She said that it did not include the taxes, and gave me the amounts. When I noted that the total was not anywhere near $260, she apologised – then said that it was actually $262.32.
My bill arrived approximately one month later. My roaming charges totalled $130.84, and I do not know how they calculated $262.32.
It was now 3:00 pm, and she asked me what I wanted to do. I said that I would pay the ransom. She completed the transfer and sent me back to the cashier. After I paid, the cashier told me that I could make calls if I turned the phone off, and back on.
It was now 3:10 pm, and I turned off the phone as I ran to my car. I had planned to explain to my client that I would be a few minutes late. When I turned it back on, I still could not make calls, so I used the heavy-foot technique and got to the site at exactly 3:15 pm.
The next day, I returned to Flow who removed the block. After turning my phone off and on, I was finally able to make calls.
In my opinion, Flow is extremely inconsiderate. I explained to several of their agents that I have my Internet, TV, land-line, and cell-phone with Flow, and I always pay my bill in full. I also travel around the Caribbean and always pay whatever roaming charges they demand – whether $200 or $2,000. They were unmoved.
Why were Flow so quick to block me from making calls, especially when my account was in credit? Why block me for relatively minor roaming charges of $140 incurred a few days before – and not yet on my bill?
Flow appears blind to what is needed. They have invested in a refreshingly welcoming customer introduction. But once the customer goes beyond the pleasantries, they get employees who seem hardened from having to implement lunatic policies on their fellow Barbadians for so long.
Flow is damaging their own reputation, by unnecessarily harming the productivity of their customers. The solution is simple – liberate their front-line employees to use their human discretion. Of course, they can continue to force them to implement stupid orders like soul-less robots.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

Important Message for CEO of LIAT – It is Christmas for Crissakes!!!

Submitted by Hotelier Adrian Loveridge

———- Original Message ———-
From: andrew oneill <>
To: “
Date: December 23, 2019 at 8:57 AM
Subject: Liat problem

My Loveridge, dear sir I am a huge fan of your column.  I recently had a problem with Liat and am not sure what to do.
My mother in law in visiting for Ukraine she has a Ukrainian biometric passport.  She needs a visa to enter St Lucia.  The passport
is good for the EU short stay.  She arrived on Condor through Germany.  She can enter France without a visa.
I booked a week at Club Med FDF and was looking very forward to this.  I booked air travel through Liat.  The girl at the check in
said a visa was required to enter FDF.  I anticipated and eventuality and had documentation showing a visa was not required.
The lady called her supervisor who gleefully said to deny boarding.  My wife and mother in law were left behind and I went ahead.
The  authorities in FDF confirmed a visa wasn’t required and told that to Liat in FDF who passed the information to Liat BGI.  My wife was
still at the desk and the Liat people said she could catch the next flight 3 days later and offered no apology in fact they seemed to be
happy my wife was a shaky upset person on the verge of tears.
I got them on an Air Antilles flight 4 hours later at a cost of $509 Euros.  I lost the better part of a day in worry.
I know you are an expert in Travel and  Tourism and have seen your fair share to problems bigger than this.  I averted complete
disaster but I am not sure how to proceed to get compensation and a apology.
Kind regards,
Andrew O’Neill


The Legacy Curse of Slavery


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II,

By now, it should be evident to everyone, that the long-line, long-wait, high-tax method of managing Barbados has not changed.   There is one notable exception.

As a semi-frequent traveller, I would rate my recent GAIA arrival experiences as the best of all countries to which I have ever travelled.  On my most recent flight, I was out of the airport in about 10 minutes after it landed in Barbados.  Every step of the arrival process was pleasant.  Even my departure was pleasantly noteworthy.

The obvious next step is to implement this remarkable efficiency across all aspects of the airport’s operations, and all public services.  Unfortunately, our low self-esteem got the better of us.  We have decided to give this Barbadian model of exceptional efficiency, to a foreign company to manage.

If our airport was a place of gross corruption and political patronage, then please call in a foreign company to save us from these corrupt political agents.  Since they are unlikely to go willingly, a foreign company that they cannot intimidate, should send our political tormentors home.

Instead of planning to privatise that that sort of corruption, we want to privatise the Grantley Adams International Airport.  To allow a foreign company to manage our airport for 30 years is to privatise it.  After each 30-year cycle, we will be forced to keep it privatised, because by then, that is all that our children would know.

We seem to want to prove to the world that we are just too stupid to manage our own airport.  Worse yet, that our children can never be good enough to be trusted to manage their inheritance.

Do we care what message these actions send to the next generation?  Why are we forcing them to embrace the slavery legacy?  This legacy is the idea that regardless of what you may achieve, you can never be good enough if you are a descendent of slaves?

This curse limits our dreams, and perpetuates the myth that prosperity is only for a few.  It also damages our self-esteem.  In 2019, we should be trying to break these stupid curses from over Barbados, not trying our best to perpetuate them.

If a company lacks important skills, then a confident manager will try to employ persons with those skills, regardless of where they are from.  A fearful manager will try to sell the company.  We are effectively selling our airport.

We were able to successfully manage our airport for over 50 years.  We kept improving the customers’ experience until finally, we have demonstrated an international standard of excellence in the arrivals section.  We now have two options.

The mature option is for Barbgaia2adians to manage all aspects of the airport, to the same standard of excellence as the arrivals.  This will facilitate a demand for Barbadian airport managers, to provide quality management services to inefficient airports all over this planet.

The lunatic option is to sell our airport.  Turning over the only airport we have, to a foreign company to manage, is to sell our children’s inheritance.  When we sell their inheritance, they are forever deprived of senior management opportunities, and will receive little in return.

With no opposition in our parliament, the administration will pursue whatever options it wants, because it can.  The government needs to listen to alternate solutions, especially when planning to pursue options that permanently disadvantage our children.

They need to recognise that any curses that were passed down to their generation, do not need to be passed on to our children’s.  After we have achieved excellence in the airport arrivals section, why is privatisation the only option that our parliamentarians are able to see?

As our nation’s elected leaders, they need to confront the slave legacy of low self-esteem, that manifests itself by automatically trying to deprive others.  They need to discourage the practises of pulling down those trying to achieve, and kicking down any ladders to achievement once their donors have climbed.  They need to reject these curses and start leading – for all of our sakes.

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

Adrian Loveridge Column – Welcome to Barbados Mr and Mrs Tourist

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

Returning recently to Barbados on a British Airways flight, landing early from a near freezing Gatwick Airport, it was a real treat to clear entry formalities using the automated passport kiosks in seconds. Then being finally processed by a warm welcoming female Immigration officer.

With only cabin baggage, passing through the red channel was just as trouble free, with time to speak briefly with the very friendly male Customs Officer. These visitor first impressions, especially when choosing us as a destination while being confronted with multiple options, makes a huge psychological difference.

We tend to forget, that for the majority of our cherished guests, have endured many hours of travelling, even before they board the plane for the nine or so hours of flying from Britain and Europe. Especially in our peak winter months, leaving their home in the dark dead of night or early morning, often in severe weather conditions.

By the time that plane touches down at Grantley Adams airport, they just want to disembark the aircraft, make their way to their own particular accommodation choice and get to the room to hopefully enjoy a first drink before falling into bed.

Anything that we can collectively do, to speed up check-in at the hotel, villa, apartment or alternative lodging, is a win for our arrivals, like pre-registering online, rather than wait for indeterminate times at reception desks.

While this, for many, may seem like an obvious observation, in my personal experience, it is not a universally adopted practice at the vast majority of accommodation offerings. In most cases the hotel is aware of the flight arrival time and can organize the cleaning and preparation of the room accordingly, to avoid lengthy delays at check-in.

For repeat guests, while owning a small hotel, we adopted a simple policy of placing a locally made welcome back gift in each room, recognizing that those who made the decision to return, were the most valuable guests, as no further marketing or promotional dollars were needed in their particular case.

We also ‘cushioned’ the cost of holiday extras by including several non-accommodation options like car rental, activities, attractions and dining experiences in specific packages which passed on negotiated discounts to our guests from certain suppliers.

The thinking behind this concept was, that we can only extract revenue in so many ways and better to have the paid commitment of a non-refundable room deposit for a future stay, than not.

For us, it made planning and budgeting very much easier and directly resulting in achieving one of the highest occupancy levels of any hotel on the island.

As our hotel operating days shortly come to an end, in our thirty years it has been an incredible learning experience.

For those still pondering a future in the hospitality industry, I cannot think of a more rewarding sector for those who really want to make a positive difference in our nation’s future.  But to pretend it is not without challenges that requires dedicated hard work, would be like perpetuating a myth.

Too Much Kung Fu


Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

I recently examined category 5 hurricane damage in the worst affected Bahamian islands.  As usual, it was the simple things that caused unnecessary building failures.  I plan to publish our findings, for the benefit of home-owners, in a subsequent article.

To visit the Bahamian islands and return home, I had to go through airport security eight times.  After the collapse of the Twin Towers in 2001, airport security guards confiscated water and sharp objects from carry-on luggage.  However, once you passed through the security scanners, you could purchase water and sharp objects in the departure area, and board the plane with them.

That same year, an airline passenger tried to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes.  Since then, everyone must remove their shoes for inspection before boarding a plane.  For safety reasons, I do not object to the inconveniences of airline travel.  However, I do object to the unsanitary methods.

The guards would to direct travellers to place their shoes in the same bins that they instructed travellers to place their cell-phones, wallets, pens, and jackets.  For the past 18 years, I explained to the guards the unsanitary nature of their instruction, and would place my shoes directly on the conveyor belt in protest.

Dogs and birds walk on the same pavements as humans.  Therefore, most people unavoidably walk on animal excrement.  After walking through animal jobbies, those same shoes are placed in a bin.  Passengers are then forced to place their cell-phones in these filthy bins, and then place their jobby-contaminated phones to their faces when answering calls.

I have seen improvements in my recent travels.  However, Barbadian guards still allow this unsanitary practise at our airport.  While they are trained to protect the public from harm, they appear to be allowing more harm than they are preventing.

Barbadian guards who work at our public buildings appear to be trained differently.  They do not seem to be trained protect the public from harm.  Instead, they seem to be trained to protect public officials from the public.

It is important that our public officials, including judges, tax officials, and regulators, feel safe while working.  If a judge feels that his life is in imminent danger, he may render an unfair sentence.  A fearful tax official may erroneously calculate an excessive tax demand.  To keep them safe, they are provided with our elite unarmed guards.

Before the public can enter some government buildings, they must have their bags and bodies scanned for weapons.  However, most public buildings do not have this service.  Perhaps, because it is not weapons that our public officials fear.

Our public officials are intimidated by a greater threat – an untucked shirt.  Our unarmed guards spring into action when they see one of those.  It matters not that the shirt was specifically designed to be worn untucked.  Our guards insist that there are only two options, tuck it in, or leave.

In order to do business at some government offices, I have had to tuck in all sorts of shirts designed to be worn untucked.  So far, I have only been inconvenienced.  However, I was reliably informed that a guard insisted that a fellow tuck in his shirt jac.  His choices were to either walk around like a clown or leave.

These guards do not care whom they humiliate.  They are sworn to protect our public officials from untucked shirts at all costs.  I can only hope that the next time they see me, they do not insist that I tuck in my jacket.

While men merely suffer inconvenience or humiliation, our women are forced to miss important appointments because they are denied entry.  There are few things more intimidating to our public officials than a strapless dress.  Our women can return home and put on an identical dress with straps, and they would be allowed entry.

If a woman arrived with a back-out, then that would justify a code-red.  A back-out is simply too much kung-fu.  However, the greatest threat to the safety of our public officials are exposed toes.

It matter not how much the shoes cost.  Once our guards see the ten commandments, they go into a cold sweat, and start to see those black stars.  If the lady makes it into the building, there must be a mandatory evacuation.

Why are our public officials such fragile snowflakes?  We graduate hundreds of secondary school graduates every year, who will have to visit public buildings for the first time.  They are not aware of these dress codes.  Why frustrate them so early?  Why can’t our guards exercise some discretion?  Why should our women have to travel back home to change, just because the dress does not have straps?

Countries that try to control every aspect of their citizens’ lives know these methods all too well.  Once you make insignificant actions major offences, with severe consequences for non-compliance, then you can get a compliant population without much national disruption.  A secondary benefit of this method of control, is that it easily identifies those who would likely be non-compliant in the future, so that they can be targeted for re-education.

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

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Automated Passport Kiosks and Sargassum Seaweed

Have we reached a crossroads or what the more sceptical may refer to as an almost insurmountable hurdle in our tourism development?

Returning on a near capacity Virgin Atlantic B747-400 from Gatwick last week, I was initially surprised that just before landing a member of the flight crew advised over the PA to try and get off the aircraft as soon as possible. It was explained a British Airways flight was landing right behind us and the hurry up was to to try and minimize the long queues in immigration. In fact, not only the British Airways B777-200 followed us but also an American Airlines B738.

By now, under not one but two Governments, we would have thought the millions of dollars spent on the Automated Passport Kiosks be fully operational for all arrivals. But no, over two years (November 2016) after installation they are restricted to a very few, seemingly just Barbadians and those with permanent status in Barbados.

Even before the British Airways plane had barely opened its doors the long line of Virgin passengers were already out the terminal door. If the other two aircraft had been close to full that would have meant up to almost 1,000 passengers (depending on model) would be standing in line, within seconds of arrival. Among them of course, many small children and elderly persons!

What seems amazing is that the carrier – in this case, Virgin Atlantic  fully understands the challenges our limited Immigration facilities pose.  Why are our own tourism officials and Government (s) appear not to be able or willing to correct the problem?

The naysayers will point out that this is not a situation unique to Barbados and delays will be experienced in other destinations like entry airports in the United States including Miami, Charlotte and New York. Other Caribbean territories have addressed this by implementing US pre-clearance in their own states but sadly, not so far, Barbados. Even where this had not been introduced, everyone has to stop and think for a moment that the United States in not a tourism dependent country and similarly, neither is the United Kingdom or Canada.

Staying with the ‘dependency’ issue, the Prime Minister, recently highlighted the existing and potential treat of Sargassum seaweed and is quoted as stating it could be ‘as devastating to national economies as a strong tropical storm or category 1 hurricane’. Few can argue with her conclusion, especially if you have witnessed the consequences as I recently did on the French West Indian island of St. Martin.

Our visitors largely comprehend the nature driven challenge, but need to know that we are seriously trying to cope with the problem, even on a localized basis. Some do not understand why our comparatively large ‘Defence Force (BDF)’ cannot be mobilized, at least in public areas,  where a positive even if temporary difference could be made.

Naturally, it is not what they are trained for but if this is really the threat that is portrayed by those in the highest office, doesn’t it make sense?

The Phartford Files: Case of the Bungling Banks

Submitted by Ironside

Last weekend’s electronic theft of thousands of dollars from the accounts of several commercial bank customers and the subsequent response of the banking cartel (a.k.a Banking Association) to the crisis should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind that said banks do not have our welfare at heart. In pure Bajan terms, they don’t give a phart about us!

But we knew this all along, what with the plethora of idiotic bank charges that have been levied against customers over the last few years and the draconian fees charged to customers to get a mortgage.

An acquaintance of mine has had the experience of having a certain bank, with origins in mountie country, telling her relative who lived overseas that they would treat her application for a mortgage to build in Barbados as an “investor mortgage” meaning that she would have to pay higher interest charges: their logic was that she was not going to be living in the house here immediately! That was a few years ago. But can you believe that?

Incidentally, when that pooper was challenged the bank did an about-face, albeit a late one, for by that time my acquaintance had taken her relative’s business elsewhere!

The truth of the matter is that most of these commercial banks, like lots of other businesses here and overseas, are now indulging in corporate bullying. While a whole lot of mouthings are being made about bullying in schools, nothing is being said about the corporate kind. Corporate Bullying Awards are long overdue!

Perhaps the Blogmaster will find and post one of those many ads by CARIFS that encouraged Barbadians to use their bank cards rather than carry cash. We listened and we complied. You bankers achieved your hidden agenda of reducing the demand for in-bank/teller services! Then you left our Bajan “botsies” exposed at the ATM!

(inserted by the blogmaster)

I listened to one pastor’s video on this matter and I agree with him 120 percent. It is the banks that were ripped off and therefore, they are the ones who should be reporting the theft to the police. He is right! Their first order of business should have been to make an apology.


(inserted by the blogmaster)

However, if the new (April 2019) Barbados Banking Association Code of practice is any guide, the banks may argue that they have up to ten days to make such an apology. Here is an excerpt from the Code:

Each bank will, in response to a written complaint: –

+++7.3.1 Send a written acknowledgement, within ten (10) working days of receiving a complaint. This acknowledgement may take the form of letters, emails, texts, or such other forms as the bank may have available for communication with the Customer. +++

Where are you getting your customer service advise from, BBA! Melmac? BBA standards are voluntary but that advice must be the biggest phart on customers I ever heard! Ten days?

This is not the first or second time that this type of fraud has occurred.

On February 19, 2016, Barbados Today reported Acting Assistant Superintendent Jefferson Clarke as revealing that “in the past year alone, an estimated $50,000 was stolen from local ATM cards through skimming”.

The same article reported that in October 2013, “two Bulgarians were arrested and charged in what was described back then as the country’s largest case of ATM fraud, involving about $1/2 million”.

The sum total of the police’s response (according to said article)? “exercise greater care when using the banking machines”. Easy for them to say!

But, what was the collective response of the banks? According to said article, President of the Barbados Bankers’ Association at that time, Glyne Harrison intimated:

+++From our end though we do have a process that has been in place since we had the last incident with the Bulgarians. We do have a bank anti-fraud committee that sits and reviews these types of incidents and that committee is currently working to identify the compromised customers as well as the compromised ATM locations+++

What crap is this we are hearing? Money is being repeatedly stolen from ATMs and you are “sitting”! Where? On the corporate toilet? No major improvements in ATMs? No high tech surveillance on ATMs? Just what the heck have you really done of any substance to protect the ATM user in the last 7 years? And still up to today, a 4-digit only ATM pin number? Excuse me, but you must be having diarrhoea! If so, you need to get out the Dica!

Please get real, BBA. Flush this approach to banking security down the nearest corporate loo and come again. You have to make much more sense than the Police Fraud Squad (or whatever its name is) which can’t seem to figure out what is necessary and what is pure Bajan “maliciousness” in making a statement about such fraud!

You bankers need to give back the affected people their money you allowed hackers to steal IMMEDIATELY before we explore a class action suit. The Police Force is NOT responsible for refunding bank customers! The “investigations” you are talking about are mere bullying and stalling tactics; the same type we are seeing with the refunds to the beleaguered Clico policy holders!

We understand that bank deposits are covered by insurance up to $25,000. Therefore, once the customer has clearly pointed out the unauthorized transactions, the banks, if they really believe half the jobby they put out as customer service slogans, should have our monies back in our accounts no later than 24 hours of the report. Customer service is also about fast turnaround time, if you didn’t know!

So my dear, friendly bankers, get up off your bullying, bungling, corporate arses and get some real ATM security! And don’t phart any additional charges on us for it either!

UPCOMING in this series: “Nursing under the Microscope” Reviewed

The Adrian Loveridge Column – LIAT Cost Up, Service Down

Our tourism planners have a major task ahead of them unless significant changes in terms of availability, connectivity and reduced cost for air travel within the Caribbean takes place.

On a recent return flight from Barbados to St, Maarten the price of my ticket was US$740 to attend the Caribavia conference. Making up this astronomical fare were the following non direct related airline costs:

Barbados Airport Service charge (BGI-ANU) – US$70; (second departure tax introduced October 2018); FIS – US$8.75; Security Service charge (BGI-ANU) – US$8.75; Barbados Passenger Service charge (first departure tax) – US27.50; Barbados Security Fee – US$3.20; Barbados Ticket Tax (Value Added Tax) – BGI-ANU – US$44.45; Barbados PFC (Passenger Facility Charge) – US$1.50 plus another Barbados Ticket Tax – (BGI-ANU) – US$33.60, totaling an amount of US$209 in Barbados Government charges.

To reach St. Maarten necessitated a change of aircraft in both directions at Antigua and a prolonged stop in Guadeloupe on the return, making the journey nearly four hours in each direction before adding check-in and delay times.

What immediately stands out is when the second departure tax (Airline Travel and Development Fee) was announced last year, it was clearly stated that travel within the region would be at the lower rate of US$35 and not the US$70 added to flights outside of the Caribbean, yet US$70 was charged, at least on my ticket (record locator ACR73R).

Also, we are currently one of the only countries within the region to pay VAT (Value Added Tax) for flights emanating from Barbados, so both the outward and return carry the17.5 per cent levy on the base return fare total of US$466 which amounts to US$78.

While the future, (if there is one) of LIAT (1974) Ltd lies in the balance, any new majority owner and operator has to take a long and careful look at every single route and its average loadings.

On my flight we had a stop in Guadeloupe which was delayed supposedly by an additional security check. This is difficult to understand as apart from the lengthy conversation the private security personnel had with the flight attendants, only around 5 minutes were spent inspecting the interior of the aircraft.

The delay though of 35 minutes plus was long enough to disgorge just 7 passengers and take on another 5 plus one infant. Sufficient time however to ensure all the vast majority of people left onboard were made hot and sweaty on the plane for their onward journey due to the lack of provision of any auxiliary ventilation.

Just how cost effective delivering and collecting such a tiny number of passengers, when taking landing fees and other costs levied into consideration certainly needs to be investigated, especially when other carriers operate on the same route with either one or no stops.

Of course these are all questions that any serious management should have been asking for decades, prior to pumping millions of taxpayer’s dollars into the airline.

Barbados Water Authority Unable to QUICKLY Fix Leaks

The following note was received by the blogmaster today from a BU family member around 10AM. It is self explanatory.

The thought which comes to mind – we have our priorities wrong. The BWA built a headquarters for how many million? Yet we are unable to respond to the most basic customer request i.e. fix a leak!

Hi David

My neighbour discovered this water leak on the supply side of their line and notified BWA on Saturday of last week (Feb 11th). They were informed that it would be attended to on Monday of the following week. They called again on Tuesday as no one came by on Monday. On Wednesday, a crew finally visited for a short while and left without resolving the situation.

BWA was called again on Thursday asking for an update. I am told that the response given was “We are under pressure with a lot of leaks so we will get back to you when we can”.

Today is Saturday 16, February and the situation remains unchanged.

Keeping in mind that the average flow rate of a kitchen faucet is 2.2 gallons per minute, is it any wonder that the people of St Joseph, St John and St Andrew are suffering from low water pressure and/or denial of service?


The Adrian Loveridge Column – Iconic Destination or What!

I really hate opening any column with a negative, but after tourism leading the way for so many years, one is left to wonder why we cannot even seem to get the simple things right?

Returning into Grantley Adams International Airport from London recently off a British Airways flight that was not quite full, at around the same time a Condor plane had landed.

So, what could have been 400 to 500 people in the line attempting to clear immigration, having already been travelling between 8 and 10 flying hours, plus probably another two hours to reach the departing airport and at least two more hours for check-in prior to boarding. The first thing our visitors notice on arrival is the idle shiny 14 Automated Passport Control Kiosks.  Still not in use, despite media reports as early as 8th May 2017 (nearly two years ago) stating they will soon be ‘operational’ and the very many assurances proffered since then.

At the time of ordering this clearly expensive equipment, surely all considerations for implementation were discussed and agreed prior to spending vast amounts of taxpayer’s monies?

What remains incredulous is that our national marketing agency driven by private sector interest has been spectacularly successful in attracting huge amounts of additional airlift into Barbados.

In the interim, perhaps some humanitarian measures could be put place, like having one or more dedicated immigration desks to process those with small children and infants.

Having scores of clearly tired and distressed vocal youngsters and their exhausted parents standing for arbitrary periods among a huge mass of people is not the ideal start to a much awaited holiday.

With the imposition of all the additional taxes that our cherish visitors end up paying, if we are going to continue this often muted reputation as an iconic destination, they have to be absolutely convinced that at least a substantial proportion of this windfall Government revenue is spent to improve and upgrade the status quo.

Of course, the problem does not just end at Immigration.

The next challenge and delay is at baggage claim and then Customs. In my recent experience, it is now quicker to join the red channel, even if you have nothing to declare, rather than swell the extended queue of what most would reasonably consider, a faster option of the green channel.

The concept of having a taxi dispatcher to help control excessive fares and rogue (often referred to as snatchers) operators is a laudable one. But our peak winter periods with literally thousands of passengers arriving during an hour, one dispatcher simply cannot cope.

As I queued in yet another line to secure a taxi the short distance to Inch Marlow, a German family with two very small children, argued the rate for their journey with the solitary dispatcher, after having researched the correct fare on the internet.

These niggling impediments help destroy all the extensive and costly marketing and promotional efforts.

And however well our guests are treated on-island, by all those employed in the industry, these first impressions have a profound effect of whether or not we are chosen as a return destination of choice.


The following is an exchange between Chris Halsall, telecoms expert and a FLOW representative regarding the importance of FLOW doi gn a better job to filter phishing emails passing through their servers to avoid security incidences for end users – David Barbados Underground

Hello Rochelle.
Thank you for your response.  And, yes, I know this was a “phishing” attempt.  This is what I said in the email I sent to your group, reporting the issue.
My clients are well educated, and have not clicked on any of the links.
However, it would be in FLOW’s best interests to filter such phishing attempts, since these emails are passing through your own email server(s) to reach your own clients.


On Fri, Nov 23, 2018 at 1:23 PM Flow Help <> wrote:

Dear Chris,
Thank you for your recent contact with FLOW. My name is Rochelle Mills and I will be able to help you with the points that you have raised.
Thank you for the information you provided.

We kindly advise you not to select any links provided in the email received.

However, if you have selected the link, kindly advise us so we can have your email password reset as this is a ‘Phishing Email.’

Apologies for any inconvenience.

If there are any more queries, feel free to contact us.

For additional information, you can visit our website at or call our IVR, access our Flow 6 system for outage notification via SMS or payment and billing details at 1-800-804-2994 by pressing 1. You can also use our Flow App – “The Flow My Self Care App” to make even 3rd party payment

Thank you for making Flow.

Kind Regards
Rochelle Mills
FLOW Customer Service Team
This e-mail message has been scanned for viruses and content. The information contained in this e-mail is confidential and may also be subject to legal privilege. It is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. If you are not named above as a recipient, you must not read, copy, disclose, forward or otherwise use the information contained in this e-mail. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender (whose contact details are above) immediately by reply e-mail and delete the message and any attachments without retaining any copies. This email has been scanned by FLOW’s email security system.

–Original Message–

Another example.
Within this one they even include your help-desk phone number in the body of the message.
——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: Customer Assistance: Suspected Abuse
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2018 07:23:47 -0500 (EST)
From: <>

We may be unable to deliver some outgoing mails on your account.  

Outbound mail function may have been disabled due to suspected abuse.

Please use the Account Settings option to effectively remove restrictions on all outgoing mails.

(For safety, this link will expire in 72 hours)


FLOW | Customer Assistance | Barbados| Cable and Wireless

Email:|Tel: 1-800-804-2994

Please note: We are not liable for any data loss or service disruption suffered as a result of failure to adhere to information contained in this communication


The information contained in this communication is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and others authorized to receive it. It may contain confidential or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by responding to this email and then delete it from your system. FLOW Barbados is neither liable for failure to adhere to information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

© 2018 Flow. C&W Communications Plc. All rights reserved. Registered in England and Wales.

The Adrian Loveridge Column – Stalled @GAIA

I frequently wonder if those who guide our tourism industry really understand the basics which make it work, at all. Arriving on schedule at 9.45 pm the American Airlines flight last Monday, we dutifully filed off the plane and took our place in the queue for immigration.

The flight was close to full, so on a B737 Max 8, this amounted to around 172 passengers plus crew. Just after 10 pm, one or more immigration officers simply left their post and went off duty, leaving a skeleton staff to process the remaining 50 per cent or so off this flight.

This flight was not a one-off charter, but a scheduled service, where all involved know that it is going to arrive daily at close to the advertised time.

When my turn eventually came, I respectfully asked the immigration officer if there had been a shift change at 10 pm and she stated yes, adding that at least some of those finishing their term duty had to get a bus.

Not at all unreasonable in my humble opinion given the knowledge that if you miss one bus there may not necessarily be a later option to ensure they get home. But surely this is a critical consideration for management, who have to ensure the ‘system’ works, given the available resources?

With the hundred or so remaining passengers still waiting to clear immigration there is plenty of time to gaze in wonderment at the rows of still idle Automated Passport Kiosks. The actual cost of installing and possibly maintaining these machines still remains a mystery to the taxpayer and we cannot blame the current administration. However, the decision to purchase or lease them and the subsequent dismal failure to ensure they are fully operational must be somebodies responsibility.

Nearly four months ago the current Minister of Tourism was quoted in the media as stating ‘the effect as I understand it is that there should be an 88 per cent faster throughput in the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), once this is implemented, than there is at present’.

A very impressive improvement in anyone’s estimation should this prediction, become a working reality.

Another factor, often ignored, is that the majority of our visitors do not live on the doorsteps of the airports which service us.

In my case last week, I left a sleepy Essex village at 5 am with three changes of train and underground, involving nearly 40 station stops to first reach Heathrow. Then a ten hour flight to Miami followed by the much improved passenger processing through US immigration and customs, before another 4 hour flight to reach Barbados, So nearly 24 hours before deplaning at GAIA.

While this may not be typical for many of our visitors, the vast majority have substantial pre-airport travelling and the last thing they want to endure, especially at night, is to be further delayed at immigration, baggage claim and customs checks.

It already seems to take an extraordinary amount of time to retrieve arriving checked baggage and with the ongoing closure of the customs Green Channel – ‘Nothing to Declare’ option, our cherished guests are being subjected to further delays.

Let us hope that these long running challenges will be fully remedied before the upcoming peak winter season, especially in light of announced increased airlift.

Otherwise even the most patient visitors may be tempted with their feet and perhaps next time, choose an alternative less hassle destination.

The Adrian Loveridge Column – We Can Do Better!

Adrian Loveridge

From my very early days in the tourism industry I have never really thought that there was anything overly complicated about the sector which necessitated even remote levels of rocket science. But there are just some people in key decision making roles, who simply do not understand what it takes to function properly.

Having just spent a couple of weeks in the United Kingdom, a classical example was our flights out of Barbados. While scores and probably hundreds of travellers were queuing inline for the bag drop or check-in for the equally busy Thomas Cook and British Airways flights to Gatwick, a brief glimpse upwards revealed that out of the seven or eight overhead industrial fans the only two were not switched on were above us. All the other fans in use had no-one checking in and our cherish visitors were just left to sweat, with many of them already partially dressed for the exceptionally severe ‘beast from the East’ unseasonal cold weather back in Britain.

Surely we can do better?

Of course it didn’t get any better. Surly ‘security’ guards with seemingly no limited public relations training, castigating passengers for not completed required embarkation cards and questioning why British Airways staff did not hand them out. As if any first time visitor would know that answer.

Add further delays at Immigration and passenger screening.

Compound this with hundreds and possibly thousands of cruise ship transferred passengers adding to long stay visitors already struggling to find seats for the many delayed flights. Someone should explain why the cruise ship passengers are not being ‘fed’ through the normal airline channels, when they used to be processed at another facility located at Charnocks?

Since the Danish company refurbished Grantley Adams International Airport, the air conditioning system has never worked properly, even during modest traffic use. Squeeze thousands of passengers into limited space with many of them waiting up to four hours and how can any Airport Manager comprehend this is the way someone spending thousands of Pounds or Dollars on a holiday wants to spend their last precious leisure moments?

What is perhaps most disarming is that after decades in the hospitality business, some key policyholders simply do not understand what brings back our cherish visitors year and year. While nearly everybody involved in the caring process may do their job to the best of their ability, it is often the first or in this case, the last impression that has such a profound influence on future destination choice.’

If after this fortnight, I had any lingering doubt that we (Barbados) as a holiday choice were getting dangerously close to losing the perception of providing value-for-money to British visitors, now I am absolutely convinced this is the case. GB Pounds 93 for 14 days car hire, GB Pounds 10 steak meals and a multiplicity of Groupon-type offers make our prices look ludicrously high.

One thing for sure, with a hugely widening choice of more affordable sun long haul destinations and a rapidly approaching extended soft summer in sight, there is no room for complacency.

Even if you accept that ‘we’ can never be a cheap holiday choice, there remains a chasm of what we offer and what our visitors pay in terms of value-for-money, especially in what remains one of our largest source markets.