Getting Ready For The Campaign Trail, SOON

The following was posted as a comment on the CLICO – A Rape Victim But Who Are The RAPISTS? blog. BU believes the submission captures many of the issues which will be distilled on political platforms in the upcoming general elections.

Owen Arthur, Leader of the opposition (l) Fruendel Stuart, Prime Minister (r)

Current Opposition Leader Owen Arthur says that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government has a moral obligation to fix the CLICO mess.  Arthur and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) perhaps have forgotten that the Barbados Water Author (BWA), a government owned corporation and sole provider of water services  in 2009 was near bankruptcy. David Thompson and the DLP inherited the BWA problem from Arthur and the BLP.  Arthur and the BLP were morally responsible for BWA problems totalling thirteen years.  BWA problems FIRST appeared during the ruling of Arthur and the BLP, also Al Barrack.

The Al Barrack mess FIRST appeared during the ruling of Arthur and the BLP.  The court ruled in favour of Al Barrack, a little less than thirty five million, $34,490.518 to be exact. Barrack in 2008 received 2.5 million from the David Thompson administration. Al Barrack, since 2008 has not received payment from the Barbados government in any form or fashion.  Building Contractor, Al Barrack built the government office complex in Warrens (St. Michael) but yet unpaid.  The total amount NOW owed Al Barrack is far above 34, 490, 518.  The Barbados national debt also is far above the 34,490,518 amount.

Just recently, Arthur reported to Midweek Nation that “the REDjet Airlines might still be flying if the Barbados Government had honoured its financial commitment to the collapsed airline”.  Well Mr. Arthur, if the government during your rein had honoured its financial commitment to Contractor Al Barrack, Barbados  NOW would not owe him seventy five million.

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Not One RED Cent To REDjet Says Noel Lynch

Submitted by Adrian Loveridge

Former Minister of Tourism, Noel 'Barney' Lynch

According to former Minister of Tourism, Noel Lynch and as reported in the Nation and repeated on Down to Brass Tacks. The same person, when in office, who first denied all knowledge of a loan to borrow US$15 million to charter Carnival Destiny for CWC2007, and who still after 5 years has not answered the question what commission and arrangement fees, and to who, were paid to shipping agent Landy and Kling Inc. and others?

The same Minister who chartered Air India and presided for several years over the Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS) scandal.

The same Minister that repeated time after time, absolutely ludicrous anticipated arrival numbers for CWC2007, when in fact, the first four months of that year showing an increase of just 44 long stay visitors.

Mr. Lynch stated on Brass Tacks that LIAT (1974) Ltd had not received ANY Government support for six years. Prove it, former Minister, or is this just another puff of unsubstantiated hot air.

Tourism is our business and we should start to treat it that way and have informed, knowledgeable and truthful people steering it in the right direction.

REDjet’s Demise + LIAT’s Haemorrhaging = Regional Transportation In Crisis

His Excellency Desi Bouterse, President of Suriname, Chairman of Caricom

Redjet as still not paid its staff .The last time they were paid was February 2012.They will not have any pilots if they come back,because most of the pilots are looking jobs.Also they still have not paid some of there pilots who had left from last year.


The notes to support this blog were done in December, 2011 and given the demise of REDjet have taken on relevance. Columnist and committed regionalist Sir Ronald Saunders wrote an article a few months ago which probed the current state of LIAT and anticipated what its failure would mean for the region. Over the years there has been the fixation with movement of people and not the concomitant interest in regional air travel and financial settlement to support trade. Implementing one of the three at the expense of the other will always be an exercise in futility for those who want a more integrated region..

LIAT over the years has become synonymous with problems. Sir Ronald’s article paints a gloomy picture for LIAT by making bold that LIAT will collapse if shareholder governments are not prepared to implement required changes in short order. Prime Minister of St. Vincent Ralph Gonzales, who is Caricom’s lead spokesman for transportation along with Barbados, the largest shareholder, have hinted the number of shareholders will be increasing by two. Has there been an update on this matter?

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What Concessions Did REDjet Receive?

George Hutson, Minister of International Business and International Transport

David Ellis who has become VOB’s goto moderator since the demise of Tony Marshall shared some interesting information today [26/3/2012] to his midday audience. On the subject of REDjet many Barbadians were under the impression REDjet was being treated like a stepchild compared to other airlines who are suspected of receiving subsidies from government. However Ellis received feedback from a source which suggested the following:

To date REDjet has received the following concessions amongst other exemptions and benefits:

  • Exemption of corporation tax for 15 years
  • No personal tax for its expatriate employees
  • Waiver of import duties on aircraft spares
  • Waiver of taxes on lease of aircraft
  • No withholding tax on dividends or investment income
  • No withholding taxes on interest from shareholder loans

BU has to thank our email correspondent [JD] who ensures BU remains informed on most issues.

Bear in mind REDjet has been carping about creating a level playing field and the like. What the REDjet experience has exposed is that there is too much wheeling and dealing under a cloak of secrecy. There is absolutely no reason why information about concessions – announced by Ellis – should not have been in the public domain. Here is another example which reinforces the call for the Freedom of Information Act to be enacted with haste. It is taxpayers money and benefits being distributed through its servant, the government of Barbados.

If there is a time for a new order of business to take root, the time is now.

REDjet Grounded!

The ‘sudden’ demise of REDjet has been a talking point in the Caribbean in the last few days. Each day that REDjet remains grounded secures another nail in its coffin. It would be a pity if this airline goes belly up the way of Carib Airlines and others before it.

It is perplexing how two local backers of REDjet, Messrs Kyffin Simpson and Bizzy Williams, would attempt to launch a low budget airline before securing all the regulatory approvals. The result of which compromised its finances or so it seems.

What went wrong?

It is hard to believe these two men who can boast of successful track records in business would commit what seem to be basic errors in judgement.

A scan of the Trinidad media space has revealed that Barbados is being short changed by how the REDjet issue is being communicated. Read the following article reproduced from the TT Guardian to see why.

Link to article:   Decision to ground REDjet takes Caribbean by surprise

REDjet And re-Discover Caribbean

Adrian Loveridge - Hotel Owner

By now, much of our energy would be going into fine tuning the annual re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show, which usually takes place in late April. Just in time for the longer and leaner eight summer month tourism season. Sadly, unless a major sponsor comes forward, it will not take place this year and this may prove to be one of the biggest mistakes ever.

The Barbados Tourism Authority lost interest in what would have been the eighth annual show by reducing their already limited financial support and not even being prepared to ‘man’ a stand for the two days of the event. This despite a compliment of over 130 staff members and the enthusiastic support in the past by the current Minister of Tourism. In fact, before entering office, he won and enjoyed one of the spectacular prizes donated by our many exhibitors.

It became ever more difficult to explain to the twenty other participating Caribbean countries, who were willing and enable to send a delegation, often at considerable cost, when the national marketing agency of the host country was half-heartedly supporting the endeavour.

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LIAT, REDjet and Caribbean Airlines – Who Will Pay The Price?

Submitted by BarbadosFirst

George Hutson, Minister of International Business and International Transport.

It has just been told to me that Barbados Civil Aviation Authority granted permission for Caribbean Airlines to fly the Barbados/Guyana and Barbados/St Lucia routes – two of the most profitable routes for LIAT (in which Barbados is the majority shareholder). This is after giving REDjet the same license. The Barbados Government now wants to catspraddle LIAT which we got our taxpayers money invested in???? Is this a bargaining chip for a fishing agreement with Trinidad? Where is the Minister responsible for International Transport? We really need an answer on this one…

The region is too small for 3 airlines to be flying these routes!!!! Or is this a response to the strikes at LIAT. .All the same, I see a loss for the taxpayers of Barbados in LIAT

Redjet: Playing The Fiddle As It Burns

Submitted by Looking Glass

The airline having promised wonders announces imaginary success. In the process Barbadosbecomes the culprit but to date not a word from us. That we need to give the green light–also suggested by the CEO–is another bit of unadulterated falsehood. Barbadosis not Caricom. It cannot control or dictate to the islands what they can should or cannot do. As such it cannot give the Green Light–whatever that means–for another country to grant licence to any airline. Yes the airline was given licence to operate from the country. However, at this point in time we are not a shareholder and cannot dictate or determine how the airline should behave or what others should or must do. That the other countries have not seen it fit to grant or formally announce the granting of licences to the airline has nothing to do with us.

St Luciais concerned about the delay in getting Redjet to operate there and “has written to the government about it” (Nation 20/9/2011). The minister must know that Barbadoscannot dictate what others should do. So why the letter if indeed there was one? That he like some of the airline officials should indulge in falsehood raises suspicion. Is there much more in the mortar than the pestle? More importantly why has our PM remained silent?

Redjet has been granted only Permission not Licence to operate out ofSt Lucia. Permission unlike Licence implies conditionality and is temporary to begin with. The minister should explain the granting of only Permission rather than Licence. The airline servicesGuyana. No problem there. So why has the airline, permission granted some months ago, not seen it fit to service St Lucia from Barbados? Economically the route is unlikely to be profitable and or sustainable even if theGuyanaroute is included.

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Redjet: About Time To Say Goodbye

Submitted by Looking Glass

REDjet CEO Ian Burns

Redjet reminds one of a dying man gasping for breath. The CEO, having claimed to have met with Caricom officials, is claiming fictional success and profitability almost everywhere except St Vincent and attributing success to the Prime Minister. He told the Nation (7/20/2011) that your “intervention paved the way for Redjet to fly to Trinidad and Jamaica.” We supposedly own 51% of the airline and have a minister on the board but so far not a word from the PM or anyone there. Is this a case of fiction following fiction? Now we hear that Redjet is seeking to operate a charter service between Florida and Dominica, and six new low fare routes will include Panama and Antigua in three months time. Does Redjet have license to operate out of the USA or anywhere beside Barbados and Guyana? And through it all the normally very critical opposition remains strangely silent

The Advocate (8/9/2011) reported that Redjet received licences to operate scheduled passenger air services to and fromTrinidad,GuyanaandJamaicaand intermediate and beyond points were granted “in accordance with the agreement between the governments ofBarbadosandTrinidadand beyond their respective territories.” The Trinidad Express (8/6/2011) reported the same thing and that St Lucia’s Civil Aviation Minister told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) “the airline was granted entry into their market a couple of months ago and could begin flying in October……We had meetings in Panama with Redjet with the idea of getting Redjet to operate into Panama both out of St Lucia and Barbados.”

The Pride (Toronto) (10/8/2011) noted that “the licences were granted in keeping an ‘open skies’ agreement between Port of Spainand Bridgetownthat allows for mutual recognition of carriers and automatic permission for air services between and beyond their respective territories.” The “open skies” policy is an ‘agreement’ between certain countries to which none of the islands are signatory. That Trinidad whose airline (CAL) doesn’t serviceBarbados has or will facilitate Redjet makes no sense. The PM stated that competition between Redjet and Liat should be seen as good for business and “part and parcel of the right to freedom of movement as enshrined in the Treaty of Chaguaramas” (Advocate 7/6/2011). The Treaty relates to land sold to theUSA ages ago. It has nothing at all to do withBarbados or the islands. That you were told this falsehood by a certain soul inTrinidad evokes more than suspicion.

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The Regional Bullies Are At It Again

Prime Minister Bruce Golding (l), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (r)

BU resisted giving our two cents on the current tug war between Barbados and Trinidad but defend we must the yella blue. All the other Caribbean islands defend their ‘colours’ and honour, Bajans however are expected to be a rare breed of people who should adsorb the disrespect of our Caricom neighbours with ‘grace and aplomb’.

First it was Guyana heaping their crap on us in the great immigration debate, Jamaica recently joined the fray with the still unsettled Myrie incident and now Trinidad and Tobago – the ridiculous outstanding fishing agreement not withstanding – decides to demonstrate  disrespect for Barbados by screwing us on REDjet’s certification. The issue of airworthiness was never a problem until REDjet exhausted the approval process. Now we are being asked to believe uncertified pictures which have miraculous;y appeared on the Internet showing a rusting landing gear of an alleged REDjet plane. Allyuh must think Bajans foolish fuh trute.

To add to the mamaguying being pulled by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, she trumpeted at the recent St. Kitts Caricom Summit that she is backing a Fast Ferry Service as a solution to making regional travel more affordable. How convenient that such a service would not have to compete with CAL. How convenient the proposed passenger fare is $15.00. It should also be noted that a similar service on the San Fernando/Port of Spain sea route has been a financial failure to date.

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REDjet: Cheap Flights And Validity

Submitted by Looking Glass

REDjet’s CEO, Ian Burns

First congrats to Joseph “Reds” Perreira. “Living My Dreams” is indeed a beautiful cover drive that belies the WISU experience.

According to the CEO the World Bank 2006 Report on air travel in the Caribbeanidentified the “need for competition and private capital to bring the region’s aviation capacity in line with other regions in the world.” Really Mr.CEO? Since when does competition facilitate standards? I suggest you send a copy of the report to the BU. Capacity has nothing to do with world standards. Where in the world does Redjet’s advertised fictional “poor man” fares apply? Until Redjet the region had been serviced by LIAT, BWIA (Caribbean Airlines) and other international carriers in ‘line with world standards’ without foreignprivate capital” and with hardly a rumour about cheap flights. Foreign investment and benevolence do not go hand in hand. Exactly how much did it costBarbados to entertain Redjet?

Correct me if wrong: I believe Redjet is ‘connected’ to a travel agency in Barbadosthat is owned by Trinidadians. Ask who the shareholders are. The fleet consists of two 150 seat MD planes acquired (Leased) for two years at around US$10,000.00 per month. The planes, about fit for the scrap heap, do not meet certain standards and might not be allowed intoNorth America or theUK. There is no concrete evidence that Redjet will indeed be allowed to service the region. So will the owners of LIAT support the kind of competition that will push the airline into the red or out of business? Only a fool will do that.

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REDjet Seeing RED!

REDjet forced to send home eight employees

The point is that the Government has been fully behind the establishment and operation of the REDjet airline, it has given REDjet the necessary certification … and it is incumbent therefore on this Government to add its voice to the call by REDjet for more prompt treatment in the region than it is getting  – Opposition Spokesman Ronald Toppin


REDjet actually got some kind of approval to fly the T&T and Jamaica routes, all that is required to complete the process is something Chairman of REDjet Ian Burns refers to as political and economic approval.  In a nutshell the approval just received from Jamaica and Trinidad confirms that the airline satisfies the safety requirements of both countries but …

It has been obvious to BU for sometime the big two i.e. Jamaica and Trinidad have been stonewalling the Barbados registered airline approval application process. The two countries recently mustered the political and economic will to seal the Air Jamaica and Caribbean Airlines (CAL) merger deal. Perhaps if it required such a long time to seal a deal in their interest, why the hell can’t REDjet wait?

Most surprising has been the feeble defense emanating from the Barbados government and other stakeholders about the position REDjet finds itself. It cannot be said that the local and regional publics have not been made aware of the bureaucratic pummelling Redjet has had to absorb. Both Bizzy Williams, a local investor in the airline and Chairman Burns have been refreshingly vocal on the blatant mamaguying being demonstrated by Trinidad and Jamaica.

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REDjet Sabotaged By Caricom: The Big Two Jamaica And Trinidad

Two events occurred in the news this week which confirmed to BU that Caricom is in a coma. A mini-Caricom summit held in Guyana saw four heads absent, Prime Minister of Trinidad among them. In the obligatory end of summit communiqué which nobody reads except Rickey Singh, the heads advised the world implementation of a common currency would be further delayed until a review of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat. Have to admit the decision was a surprise, in fact the Caribbean is still in shock!

The other happening was REDjet’s decision to cancel plans to fly the Trinidad and Jamaica air routes. It is no secret both Jamaica and Trinidad have frustrated REDjet’s application to operate its low-cost airline between Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica. Barbados and Guyana gave the all clear to REDjet about a month ago.

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The REDjet Revolution

BU has been following the progress of new entrant REDjet to the regional air transport market with interest. Not since Carib Express have we seen a new airline generate so much debate. The airline was approved to fly by the Barbados government albeit after a mountain of bureaucratic hurdles had to be leaped. The airline had to confront a suspicious minister of transport in Jack Warner  in its quest to fly to Trinidad. A recent report suggests permission for REDjet to touchdown at Piarco International Airport should be known when the cabinet meets on Thursday.  It was left to the Guyana government to welcome the airline free of controversy.

If we are to judge by the comments emanating from REDjet management the response to the airline has been overwhelming. Why should this be a surprise to anyone when in recent months it has been cheaper often times to fly to Miami or New York than to Antigua or Jamaica.

It is ironic and exposes the hypocrisy in the region that external players are the ones to attempt to make regional travel affordable. We are not ignoring the contribution of local investor in the airline Bizzy Williams. For decades our political leaders and intellectuals, or should we say pseudo-intellectuals, have pontificated about the importance of freedom of movement to the success of the regional integration movement. However they have all failed to deliver a solution which would make regional travel affordable. Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua are the major shareholders in LIAT which currently has the monopoly on regional transport between the islands of the Eastern Caribbean. Whether because of mismanagement or a flawed business model LIAT has been a generator of debt for its shareholders and venerable Chairman Doctor Jean Holder through the years. The less written about Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica the better.

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REDjet Approval To Fly Welcomed – Efficient Regional Air Travel Remains A Pipe Dream

Adrian Loveridge - Hotel Owner

Like thousands of people around the region, I share the excitement of impending competition and all the benefits hopefully it will bring to us with the launch of REDJET. Frankly, it could not come at a better time as we face the daunting prospect of near eight month softer summer season.

Our Government should be happy too, as if the majority of those seats transit or are purchased in Barbados they will collect up to a whopping BDS$15 million in ‘departure taxes’ and what could be another BDS$4.37 million in VAT.

Lots of discussion has taken place regarding the potential commercial damage to LIAT by REDJet, and clearly they will face some real competition on the Georgetown route. However, I would have thought LIAT faces a far greater threat from Caribbean Airlines, especially after the recent announcement that the carrier ‘has officially signed a contract for the purchase of nine (9) ATR 72-600 aircraft, valued at some US$200 million’ to replace its current fleet of five Dash-8 300’s. The European Turboprop manufacturer confirmed that first deliveries will start in October 2011. Whether these planes have been purchased on any preferential or subsidised financial terms is unsure.

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Questions Asked Of AIRONE's REDjet

Submitted by Mr. Thompson


What’s really the objectives behind the proposed Airone/Redjet low cost airline.


  • Is it practical to operate MD82, old generation, aircraft on a 15 minute route structure ?
  • Are $9.99Bds fares realistic or practical ?
  • Can REDJET compete with the heavily subsidized LIAT ?
  • Will the FAA grant the airline access to the proposed USA market ?
  • Why did Jamaican Government not allow Airone to set up operations in Jamaica ?
  • Who is the major Barbadian investor listed in the USA Exception Application ?
  • Does Barbados Government Civil Aviation organization have the expertise, experience, regulations etc. to approve, monitor and regulate a heavy commercial passenger carrier ?
  • Are two proposed aircraft sufficient to operate an on time scheduled passenger service considering weather, mechanicals, maintenance etc. ?
  • What Liability Insurance has Barbados demanded of RedJet ?

The above questions cause me some concern; as the saying goes –

if it looks to good to be true then it probably is.

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Tourism MATTERS – Exploring New Markets, Keeping Airfares Down

Adrian Loveridge - Hotel Owner

Fair competition is a wonderful thing and personally I don’t think it’s anything to fear. Hopefully soon the necessary operating licences will be granted and the prospects of seeing some reduction in the cost of intra Caribbean travel will become a reality. And how exciting to see the international aviation registration of 8P emblazoned on a Barbados based aircraft and the generation of new on-island employment in this sector.

Even before REDJet takes commercially to the air, the limited competitors have already been galvanised into action. The Trinidadian carrier, Caribbean Airlines, taking half page newspaper ‘ads’ pointing out a choice of seat classes, complimentary drinks, meal or snack, in-flight entertainment and the fact that you can earn miles, amongst other possible differences or benefits.

Ultimately, the consumer will have a choice, as to whether they prefer more affordable travel or the once almost standard perks. There is no doubt that high airfares (and taxes), have had a detrimental effect on our regional visitor arrival numbers. The introduction of WestJet and JetBlue has driven increased travel out of North America, without seemingly damaging the long established legacy carriers. In fact American Airlines have just added a new Dallas/Fort Worth non-stop service.

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