With Christmas approaching how many Barbadians have registered the news that Grantley Adams Airport (GAIA) is going the route of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to fund the running of the airport? This is an interesting move by the government; a new transaction for Barbados concerning one of our main ports of entry.
As civic minded Barbadians we must insist on transparency. Government has teamed up with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) to help oversee the bidding process.
Reports indicate the government has received several offers from investors to invest $300 million in the PPP. This week we also learned that government granted a 5 year contract to a US-based firm to ramp up marketing of the island’s products and services at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
The upside is that a good PPP will be a win win for Barbados by providing access to the investment to maintain a world class airport therefore relieving government of the ‘responsibility of allocating scare resources and/or attract more debt in times of austerity. The downside is that there must be transparency and Barbados has struggled in this area of governance.
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.
Returning on a completely full British Airways flight from Gatwick last Monday it was a joy to find the Automated Passport Kiosks finally fully functional and I was able to clear Immigration within a couple of minutes.
Several staff – which we are left to assume – are placed there by one of the Barbados Tourism entities, were very visible and seemingly channelling arriving passengers into the fastest processing options.
The next obstacle is baggage claim, which on this occasion took just over an hour to retrieve a single suitcase after deplaning. With horrendously long lines for the Nothing to Declare, option, I decided to join the shorter queue, Goods to Declare. A very affable young female Customs Officer asked me a few questions and then waived me through. Just before exiting the arrivals area a Royal Barbados Police Officer (also a female) asked if I needed a taxi and personally led me to the Taxi Despatcher desk.
If we could just reduce the baggage reclaim time and speed up the customs procedure, then we have it almost right and I applaud all those who have been working on the improvements.
We should never lose track that many of our visitors, especially those arriving on transatlantic routes, have travelled, in many cases up to two hours to their departing airport, a minimum check-in of at least two hours, then sitting on plane for nine hours before finally arriving at their chosen destinations.
On my particular flight (at least in economy) there was a fascinating mixture, made up of families with small children, younger and older couples, together with second home owners.
During my short taxi journey home, I asked the driver if he had been busy and he replied that he had been at the airport since 5am and that my ride was his first fare at just after 4pm. This is perhaps another area that needs some in-depth investigation. Of course, every legitimate taxi operator pays an annual fee for the right to ply out of Grantley Adams International Airport. With the talk, of in some way privatizing, some aspects of the facility, pressure will increase to justify the hike of fees to users under any private control.
From my observation, the long standing problem of the so called ‘snatchers’ still persists. As the name implies, unlicensed individuals who prey on first time or unsuspecting visitors, then drive them off in vehicles, which may, or may not carry sufficient insurance.
I cannot imagine the media consequences if one of these vehicles are involved in a serious accident or crash and found to be unlicensed.
From general feedback and following social media sites like TripAdvisor Barbados Forum, many loyal Barbados returnees have albeit reluctantly accepted the massive increase in taxes on flights, accommodation and ancillary services. But, and it’s a big BUT, transferring the cost of marketing the destination from Government directly to visitors, therefore saving the administration a reported BDS$100 million annually will have to be justified in clear and transparent improvements.
For instance, are we any closer to ensuring every accommodation provider is registered, carries all the basic health, safety and insurance requirements and is finally contributing taxes to promote Barbados?
Submitted by James C. “Jim” Lynch, Captain (Retired) Aviation Consultant, Caribbean Specialty
The new Barbados government has the full right and the rare opportunity – if the political will is there – to take a proactive lead in changing the face of aviation in the entire eastern Caribbean, to return to the excellence we used to enjoy and benefit from. But will PM Mottley and Minister Symmonds take up the challenge, to make the skies safer for all of us and to make simple things such as intra-Caribbean language exchanges and sales trips affordable?
I have been told that this new government has “hit the ground running”. We will see what their priorities are – after they step back from the brink of devaluation. Here is a professional critique of what exists now… the full document is much longer and also contains my recommendations, but that is for the eyes of PM Mottley, should she ask for it.
In the current circumstances, little wonder that Barbados is Category 2 – and that because of crass political influence the ECCAA may be sliding out of the Category One it has been so proud of.
— Barbados Civil Aviation Department (CAD)
The normal process used to be that a newly vacant position of Director Of Civil Aviation would be advertised by the government, and that someone with broad aviation experience – or at least previous experience as an administrator in aviation – would be appointed as Director of Civil Aviation (DCA). Such practices – in any organisation – tend to introduce wider intelligence, experience and expertise, and keep the institutions current and renewed, benefiting from wider knowledge, trusted techniques, and advances used elsewhere which have proved to work well in practice.
But over the last 30 years that has all changed. For some reason, today Air Traffic Controllers – who normally join ATC straight out of school, are trained as Controllers and have no managerial or commercial experience outside of their own narrow mono-skill world – have come to expect that with time and seniority they will see promotion all the way up to the Director position, with none of the training or administrative experience in the wider world to deal competently with non-ATC people, from Ministers of government through airline executives and a variety of hard-nosed business people and all the way up to the US FAA, ICAO and the US State Department.
The result is unprepared and insufficiently educated individuals with little (or no) world experience being elevated way past their (Peter Principle) “Level Of Incompetence” to where abuses become rife as they struggle to deal with matters far beyond their own training, education, capabilities and understanding, without the faintest hope of ever catching up.
Since Leric Hunte retired (about 1985), all appointments have been politically-favoured Barbadian Air Traffic Controllers, trained locally with no administrative experience and no exposure to anything other than “this is the way we have always done it”. They have all been career Air Traffic Controllers – not managers or administrators.
Presumably by political direction, the position was not since advertised by the PSC, so all external enquiries for the vacancies were refused – although qualified and interested Barbadians with international experience were definitely expressing interest. This has resulted in a narrow-minded, unimaginative, confrontational and backwards bureaucratic mindset in the Department, where there is now no progress, no fresh thinking, and almost nothing gets done.
In addition there are, forced on incoming and transiting pilots, long-outdated ATC procedures and restrictions which have never been updated or amended to keep up with the times, speeds or technology.
The Department has also been starved of funds, which I suspect has led to an almost complete lack of vital qualified personnel – from Licensing and other Officers to airline Inspectors – due to reassignments, resignations and retirements, and the natural resulting drop in morale. Due to the acute staff shortage, the CAD is seldom timely in dealing with applicants and operators in situations where commercial pressures often require fast decisions.
As suggested, out of this lack of experience has materialised a dictatorial – and therefore confrontational – attitude by some of the staff, which further frustrates both applicants and operators. Coupled with an unclear direction and incompetent leadership and planning, the drawbacks of the CAD continue to contribute to a lack of successful aviation ventures in Barbados. Even the once very active Light Aeroplane Club is struggling.
In all cases involving Barbadian aviation companies, operators normally have far more qualifications and experience than the Regulating Authority (BCAD) – whose few Officers may have no actual experience at all in any field, regardless of their training. While close interaction between such parties is always encouraged as beneficial, this gap has led to the same operators taking it upon themselves to interpret policies and regulations inappropriately to their advantage – and this without any material challenge from the CAD.
As with LIAT, “garbage in, garbage out” has become the norm at the BCAD rather than the exception. The “garbage” is the acceptance of “just good enough for government work”, as opposed to the nation searching for and finding excellence in leadership, performance, oversight, training, and a better way to do anything and everything. Not to mention carrying out their legal oversight duties.
Barbados was once the shining star of the Caribbean… for whatever reason, as a nation in just 40 years we have become lazy, complacent and accepting of anything that might pass as long as it does not look too much like work. Certainly our national educational standards have dropped drastically – I do not believe our once proud boast of 99.9% literacy rate is anywhere near as valid today.
— Barbados CAA – Civil Aviation Authority
In 2012 I corresponded with the Minister of International Business (George Hutson) about a CAA for Barbados. He assured me that legislation was being prepared for the establishment of a Barbados CAA and that it would be passed by the government before the end of the year.
But now, six years later, all the Ministers responsible have done about promotion to a CAA is spend about a million dollars on a cavernous new building at Charnocks, moving all of the CAD Officers and Inspectors away from where they are effective – at the airport – and the promised CAA legislation is still yet to be passed.
In my opinion, for half a century we have had more than enough of the politically instigated friends-and-family, amateur-status, “see what you could do”, “try-a ting” half-assed performance from political appointees. I suggest we return to professional behaviour from top to bottom, and do it right for once.
— ICAO / IASA Category One
At heart this ICAO / IASA Category is really a simple matter. It is a safety Category recommended by ICAO, but evaluated and “enforced” by the USA (IASA) through their FAA.
This Category – either Category One (= safe) or Category Two (= unsafe)… there are no other Categories – is awarded to the whole country, not to an airport, and the inspection covers a wide range of matters, from required legislation to personnel numbers (and their qualifications and ability) to oversee the registered aircraft and companies under their registration as well as the airport facilities to separation of the aviation authority from the influence of politicians – and much more, of course. The entire country’s aviation existence is examined, not just the authority and the airports.
While I fully realise the extant hypocrisy in light of the American politics and influences over the DoT and FAA in the USA, the fact remains that the USA does the physical inspections on behalf of ICAO, and if one wants ICAO / IASA Category One then one has to play their game.
Since a CAD is a Department of a political Ministry and therefore politically directed, an arms-length CAA is one of the mandatory requirements for Category One (= Safe) status, and more than a decade after first being discussed Barbados is still no closer to having a CAA, far less qualifying for ICAO / IASA Category One.
— LIAT (1974) Limited
LIAT has been the neglected orphan of the eastern Caribbean since the British owner Courtline went bankrupt in 1973 and it was sold to the interested governments (then many, now few). In almost 45 years it has probably altogether cost the regional government shareholders over a Billion US dollars. Some years the subventions / support totaled hundreds of millions.
But for whatever reason – despite repeated urging from public sources – there has never been any urgency whatsoever at the highest levels – the shareholders – to “do it right”, to remove the constant political interference, to run it as a commercial airline, on a commercial footing, with competent executive and management, and to avoid unnecessary crises and expensive region-wide industrial actions which inconveniences thousands of people.
Except for Caribbean Airlines, I have never heard of a Company blowing as much as a hundred million US dollars in a single year and moving on to January 1 again as if this were a normal occurrence. But when LIAT blows that kind of cash NOBODY goes home, NOBODY is disciplined, NOBODY gets a warning, and NOBODY in authority in the airline seems to give a damn. It barely even makes the news. In a private Company, under such circumstances there might well be a COMPLETE replacement of the entire Board AND Executive.
That no action is ever taken with LIAT’s repeated disasters tells me that – under the current and past regimes – NOBODY is accountable, NOBODY is responsible, that “we like it so”, and that there will probably never be change.
You may be aware that over the years there have been powerful representations from interested persons in LIAT’s network demanding change, in Chairman, in Board, in management, in scheduling, in how the shareholders approach the airline. But LIAT’s path has deviated not one iota, even after the infamous system-wide “meltdown” when Captain Ian Brunton was CEO.
Decade after decade, the shareholders indulge in the insanity, hold exactly the same course, and still expect a different result each time. And regardless who the Captain is, each time LIAT hits the iceberg head on and needs expensive patching – at taxpayer expense.
Barbados owns more than 50% of LIAT. Legally this means the new government now has a rare opportunity to jettison the garbage and put the ship right for once and for all. I have always been convinced that LIAT can break even and then make a profit, and at that point – if the shareholders are so inclined – I believe the airline will be worth a substantial amount to the various Treasuries should they wish to sell it.
I have personally seen previous LIAT Chairmen, most notably Mr. Ian DeVere Archer, encounter disaster after disaster, be presented with the same rarest of opportunities to turn LIAT around – and do absolutely nothing.
Almost from the beginning, LIAT (1974) Limited – still owned and financially supported by the taxpayers of several countries – has refused to make public any of its accounts, annual or otherwise. A person I know who once asked for them was told in no uncertain terms that LIAT’s accounts were none of his business.
LIAT’s management, Board, Chairman and Shareholder Chairman show no responsibility – and clearly accept zero accountability – to those who actually pay the bills and subsidise the airline.
The current Shareholder Chairman of LIAT is possibly the worst choice the other shareholders could have made – and if the position is supposed to rotate, the wheel seems to have been broken off. Mr. Gonsalves has treated LIAT like his own private airline, to the point of endangering lives, property – and the very future of LIAT itself – for a grossly stupid political stunt last year.
For years Prime Minister Gonsalves has been, and still is, focused on his new airport, and in fact he has clearly not needed LIAT at all for years – he has his own reasonably-sized airline based in St. Vincent (SVG Air) which is doing very well, mainly thanks to the connections out of Barbados.
In their “default of inaction”, the previous Barbados administration – majority owner of LIAT, with FIVE TIMES the shares of St. Vincent, and therefore five times as much to lose – allowed such unacceptable behaviour to continue, totally unchallenged.
The Chairman of LIAT (politically appointed) is still Mr. Jean Holder, who in the past appears to have had outstanding success in tourism, diplomacy and the cultural landscape, but in all the many years he has “led” LIAT it is clear he has learned absolutely nothing about how an airline is supposed to be run.
From the stream of tourism books he produces, all of his time appears to be spent on things other than aviation and/or LIAT – and it shows.
It MUST be remembered that if we are to discuss the future success of LIAT then the sole determining factor of whether someone is suited to its Board and management is whether they are competent to be so appointed. So REGARDLESS of his past contributions, Mr. Holder has nothing to contribute to LIAT, and from all indications and his performance over the years, he never has had anything truly meaningful to contribute.
Board of Directors
The Board of LIAT once had a single person with actual aviation experience – retired pilot, Colin Mayers – but it has not had anyone with such direct experience since he left. But background be known, Mr. Mayers was himself never a manager – his brother Trevor Mayers handled the management of Carib West – so it could be argued that Colin was not representative of the high level knowledge required to make intelligent oversight decisions for a fast-moving regional airline either.
To the best of my knowledge, the rest of the LIAT Board has always been unqualified in any sector of aviation and non-competent in decisions concerning commercial aviation in general, and a multi-million dollar airline in particular.
The fact remains that you CANNOT direct a highly technical, fast moving, multi-million dollar business – which requires at least half of the staff to be highly trained licensed professionals and involves the very real possibility of loss of life – with the basic self-taught (or family-taught) skills of running a haberdashery, hardware, or any other retail store. To be blunt, in almost any airline, such basic retail management skills are totally irrelevant to the person actually running the airline. Perhaps in the marketing department, but managing the airline bears no resemblance to everyday commerce.
In all the decades that LIAT has belonged to the shareholder governments, there has not been a single example – that I am aware of – where any Board Member or Executive Manager was removed or disciplined for even one of the many abysmal performances of the airline.
Worth repeating, again and again – and again…
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”
~ Thomas Sewell
CEO Mr. David Evans
The search for a CEO which selected Mr. David Evans in 2014 had a range of candidates, including at least one I am personally aware of who has global (and Caribbean) experience as a regional airline CEO and includes many other facets of aviation, including having been a commercial pilot, an investment banker, an airline CEO, worked at times for both Boeing and Bombardier, and has acquired a reputation as an airline “turn-around artist”.
He told me personally that during his first and only interview with LIAT (over Skype), the moment he said the word “change” the faces on the other side dropped and the interview was cut short. Not surprisingly, he did not make the final list.
Instead, LIAT selected someone who had almost no actual small airline experience – David Evans had always worked deep in the bowels of the highly organised, deep-pockets BA – and the vast majority of his career was spent in cargo back offices staying out of sight. It is entirely possible that he secured his selection at LIAT by promising not to make any changes at all.
As a result, he retired from his BA “senior light duties” and then spent his entire tenure in the Caribbean touring LIAT’s destinations – at taxpayer expense – or fighting with the Board over his grossly underhanded and unprofessional conduct (offering the Chairman a proposal which detailed the dissolution of LIAT and the creation of a new airline company based in Barbados – which the Chairman and Board accepted).
Mrs. Julie Riefer-Jones
When challenged by the Press about her application for the CEO position, the then-CFO of LIAT Mrs. Julie Riefer-Jones stated in public that she believed the only qualification she needed for promotion (from CFO to CEO) was that she loved LIAT. Her actual profession is accountant and, before she was given the LIAT CFO position by her friend Jean Holder, she had zero qualifications in, or past experience with, aviation of any kind.
Management in general
For more than 45 years, no matter who the faces were, the management style at LIAT has been, almost without exception, incompetent, abysmal and confrontational. Standards, instead of being maintained, consistently drop as “just good enough for government work” remains the mantra. This, in a regionally owned public transportation system where if something goes wrong one cannot simply park at the si9de of the road and call for a tow truck. Apparently the taxpayers can afford a hundred million in losses a year, but cannot afford to hire professional management.
From 16 years immersion in that environment I can personally assure you that the pilots of LIALPA are professionals, memorise and work safely and true to their contract, which carries on from year to year unless notice to change is given by either side, and that the Union itself is operated properly and professionally, always dealing with management through their Chairman.
On THREE occasions management has deliberately drawn out pilot contract negotiations in excess of 10 years (at HUGE expense in lost manpower and salaries for senior pilots and management), and on each occasion where the pilots took industrial action because they were still getting nowhere after 10 years, management – and the Board – went to the public and blamed the pilots for the disruptions. With the staggering cost of such region-wide industrial action there MUST be a change to an agreed process for resolving contract negotiations and grievances, and the Arbitration Board MUST NOT be allowed to drag the already disturbed atmosphere out for any longer than absolutely necessary.
It has also been drawn to my attention that recently management has taken to amending the official documents which govern their own required qualifications. Apart from few to none of management actually being professionally qualified for their positions, the Director of Flight Operations has for at least three years not qualified educationally for the position he holds, and senior management not only appointed him in spite of this but has allowed him to remain in the position. I am told that the airline’s documentation – manuals – supporting the Air Operating Certificate have been “adjusted” to lower the required qualifications for his position.
What happens in an airline when standards drop low enough – and such is condoned or even promoted by the governing authority and management – is a serious accident, usually with accompanying major loss of lives. Under normal circumstances, the affected airline never recovers fully from the catastrophe in the confidence of the staff or of the flying public.
LIAT fraud & theft from employee Provident Funds
About 1994 LIAT’s management tried to “borrow” funds from the employee Provident Fund for use as operating capital for the airline, and when the courts refused the application (due to employee contract restrictions, among other objections), in secret they simply stopped depositing the contributions – from both sides – and before long the non-deposits – employee with-holdings and contracted company contribution – more than US$10 million (EC$27 million). Not long after that, management shut the Fund down and the Fund Members lost all of that shortfall from their payouts.
In Antigua nobody – at LIAT or anywhere else – was ever interviewed, warned, charged, arrested or disciplined in any way by law enforcement or the Board, despite many aspects of this process violating contracts, and being fraudulent and/or totally illegal.
There is no way the Chairman and Board could not have known or been complicit in this obviously illegal attempt to divert employee funds, yet no actions have been taken against them either.
In all the decades that LIAT has belonged to the shareholder governments, there has not been a single example – that I am aware of – where any Board Member or manager – executive or otherwise – was removed or disciplined for any of the many abysmal performances or near-disasters of the airline. As in Caribbean politics, zero responsibility and zero accountability reign supreme.
As an employee of GAIA I feel a need to bring light to the situation unfolding at the airport , this government is a bunch of bullies and the nupw aint no better so we the workers are out to sea without a paddle in a leaking canoe.
I know the public have their views on what is transpiring but very few know the whole situation. Now back last year we were fighting for a 3.5% that was owed to us and it was owed to us because we had negotiated and it was agreed that we would get 7.5%, at that time the public servants had already had their negotiations and was awarded 10% we were told we are not public servants the airport is run by a board hence the GAIA.Inc. Now we had received the first half which was the 4% then the public servants was place on a wage freeze because of the state if the economy their wages are garnered from the government treasury GAIA wages comes from the money made at GAIA our salaries does not come from the treasury. In fact government uses Gaia profits to subsidize other failing government entities.
The general secretary of the nupw Dennis Clarke came to us the Gaia employees and paying members of nupw and told us that the government had asked us to put our remaining 3.5% on hold because the public servants was on a wage freeze and it wouldn’t look good that we were getting a raise and them on a raise freeze the staff agreed to that even though at that said time the airport had made a profit of 9 million dollars and all that was profits after all expenses.
What we did not know or was not told was that the NUPW president Walter Maloney and general secretary Dennis Clarke (who was our bargaining agent) had gone into a closed door meeting with the prime minister and GAIA acting Ceo at that time and director of finance and had agreed to taking the 3.5% off the table. It was only when we came back asking we were told we weren’t owed anything, the new executive of the Nupw and general secretary keep telling us that Dennis Clarke had said that he hadn’t agreed to anything but no one could reach him and he was never available, but McDowell assured us he had spoken to Dennis Clarke and that the rumours circulating was false.
Fast forward to where this dragged on until it came before the chief labour officer who more or less told them whatever was agreed on in that meeting stands, no minutes were never produced from that meeting it came before the minister of labour who told them the meeting did in fact take place and why dont the union put forth new negotiations for the employees , everyone was pushing for new negotiations even the Ceo of GAIA had held meeting telling the staff they had no claim to the 3.5% and basically telling them to get the union to put forth new negotiations. The Nupw was hesitant with dropping that claim although we all came to realize that Dennis Clarke did agreed to take it off the table therefore misrepresenting us as no one knew before hand what he had done, the sad thing is around that said time GAIA directors received a pay increase they were not ask to hold off because of a wage freeze people like the Ceo , director of finance and engineering were given an increase, do you know how the staff felt knowing that?????????
The airport is still in the profits margin of millions of dollars ever so often we see and hear from the print or air media how good tourism is doing, every year since then it have been better and better yet we cannot share in the profits that are being made on our backs by our sweat how is this fair ??????? Since 2010 all we had ask for is a fair raise seeing the money being made we were even told that they can afford to give us a 23% raise after the nupw had gone over Gaia books but we are not greedy we just want to eat good we would like to shop and not be anxious when we get to the cashier.we had ask for 6% for 2015 we weren’t even going back to 2010 a 5% in 2016 and 17.
Somehow i feel we were hoodwinked by GAIA the NUPW and this government who is now telling us 3% premium or nothing , that’s 3% on whatever the public servants are awarded, so now its back to a wait and see position. Why wait ???? are we now public workers again , suppose we accept can we now ask for the same benefits back as well can we now have back 21 sick days instead of the 6 we now have ???? can we enjoy increments on our salaries??????? will you pay us for all bank holidays?????? can we also half these half days of work the government workers are given for certain holidays ????.
A staff of 402 that all want the same thing, to be treated fair we might not all know our worth but trust me enough of us do, how can we be the welcoming smile that meets the tourists when we have nothing to smile about not when we know it can and should be better.
Remembrance Day is to remember those fallen or injured as a result of War. It is held on the day Armistice was signed the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o’clock. Yet no Calendar in Barbados shows this day although the Parade is held on the following Sunday. Very few poppies were seen prior to the parade except those on the Military so why is this not supported or is it just another fund raiser? I would be interested to know how much money was raised? The parade is spectacular yet this year there was hardly any room for anyone off the street to watch and I would guess more people in the parade than those watching. As an ex serviceman who came to pay respect to the fallen and injured there was no room for me, the boardwalk is restricted even when it is not being worked on. I was moved on from everywhere I tried to stand including by Chefette and told not to stand on Broad Street. Yes we need security but who is going to attack anyone in Barbados? This wont happen but I suggest the War Memorial is moved somewhere where the parade can be watched by those who wish to participate. After all the Independence Day Parade is either at the Garrison or the Port. Perhaps the War Memorial could be moved to the BDF Barracks where security can be managed at the gate and plenty of room for spectators and the parade. Shame on those not buying a poppy.
Memo to Minister Michael Lashley
Potholes Bajan style
Recently Japan suffered a bit of a pothole measuring 30 metres across and 15 metres deep taking with it utilities like power, water and drainage. All put back to normal in a week. This follows from March when 150 metres of 2 lane road was damaged by a Tsunami leaving cracks deeper than a man and it was all back to normal in a week. How long does it take MTW to fill a pothole 30 centimetres wide and 15 centimetres deep?
$240M for GAIA
Interesting that Government can find all this money for GAIA so the question is where is it coming from? Yet another loan that interest has to be paid on? Interesting that Mr Sealy says it will provide jobs next year when it starts but who for? How many Bajans? Interesting also that cost estimates have not been finalised says Mr Sealy and I hope he has learnt a lesson from the Auditor General’s exposure about how so very poorly the whole business of contracts, estimates and unaccounted for costs for Valerie and The Grotto were handled and who was fired as a result. By the way whatever happened to penalty clauses which should be included in contracts of this nature.
As we approach the precipice of celebrating this island’s 50th anniversary of Independence from our colonial masters, the burning question is ‘what have we really gained and at what cost?”
This question is posed against the backdrop of recent developments at an enterprise located at this island’s lone airport in which the Government of Barbados is a major stakeholder.
Reliable sources indicated that one week ago, two key local management executives were unceremoniously relieved from their substantive posts in the areas of retail and finance after nearly a decade of yeomen service to the organisation. We further understand that the employees were informed by the General Manager (an Irish expatriate), in the presence of an unidentified white non-Barbadian female and a representative of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC). Glaringly absence from the meeting was the local Human Resources Manager and a representative from the local Board of Directors.
In the case of our own airport, Grantley Adams International (GAIA), the taxpayer may never know the answer, because even though the facility is wholly owned by Government, it feels no obligation to publish its annual audited accounts for public scrutiny. A polite request made a few days ago for their latest fiscal statements, met with a deafening NO!
While its difficult to draw any direct similarity, I wonder if ‘we’ the taxpayers had been able to view the accounts of another Government entity, the ill-fated Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS) in a timely manner, perhaps then more pressure could have been brought to bear to prevent the haemorrhage of hundreds of millions of dollars. So to try and calculate any comparison between the amount of taxes paid by departing passengers and what proportion GAIA Inc., retains towards operational and capital costs is almost impossible.
“Category 1 airport status in corrupt Antigua; Category 2 status in number one developing state Barbados.” – Kiffin
… the OECS created the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), funded it properly, and gave it some teeth and experienced people. The DCA here Barbados is still merely a gubmint Department over seen by a Minister, while the ECCAA is an agency – a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – which is to some measure independent and apart from politics, and collect their own revenues (as well as some government financing in many cases).
The DCA in Barbados has for decades been run by Air Traffic Controllers who rose through the ranks following very narrow rules and have little or no breadth of experience or knowledge, and (in Barbados) for their entire careers they have been abused by their Directors who have ensured they have as little say in their own professional lives as possible.
From personal experience I can tell you that the Controllers in Barbados have lost every part of their jobs – which is standard internationally – and gave them insight into airspace outside of Barbados. For instance, they are trained solely in Barbados, and “FAM” (familiarisation) flights to other islands or even to north America were cut off many decades ago. They are also treated with scant respect – and so have as much interest in expanding their personal horizons as a coffee cup.