Case of Implementation Deficit in the Tourism Sector

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

I make no apologies of staying with the subject of implementation, or rather the lack of it this week, because I feel it remains the single biggest impediment to returning our tourism industry to viability and restoring previous levels of long stay visitor arrivals.

What prompted these latest thoughts was scanning through various media coverage quoting several named Government officials and politicians, stating that by the end of the year, Grantley Adams International Airport would receive Category One status. The trouble being that the press articles referred to were printed in 2007. Here we are six years later, with the same proclamations being made in the same publications.

Of course, it’s not just the aviation issue, but the much vaunted Tourism Master Plan, the restructuring or the Barbados Tourism Authority, an all-embracing Hotel Refurbishment Fund and so on and on. According to the organisation charged with the responsibility of making the new St. Vincent and the Grenadines airport a reality, the International Airport Development Company (IADC) state on their website, that ‘the new Argyle Airport is expected to come operational in 2014’. Just months away from opening and I wonder what impact , especially financially, it will have on any plans there may be for our own airport (GAIA Inc.). Already GAIA Inc., has been negatively affected by reduced passenger arrivals and the use of smaller aircraft into Barbados, resulting in diminishing revenue generation. Not only directly, but for it’s tenants, concessions and service providers.

Direct flights into Argyle, a reduction of double-drop flights to our neighbours and a dramatic fall in available airline seats to Barbados will further add to the woes. By now, I am sure those responsible for tourism in SVG have gone into hyperdrive to see which airlines can be enticed to use the new airport. This will be partially determined by the category afforded to Argyle, but SVG’s membership of the Organisation of Caribbean States (OECS) appears to make this just a formality. If, after inspection and certification, Category One status is granted, then this could well open up new gateways into the United States.

My thoughts too, are that SVG will reach out to co-operate in the fullest extent with some of it’s neighbours, especially, St. Lucia, to see how they can smart partner to jointly build new routes and markets. The final cost of the construction of the new airport is still being debated, but an amount of US$240 million has been mentioned frequently.  This is according to an excellent article that appeared recently in the Baltimore Post,

The SVG Government is offering significant tax concessions and other benefits for investors to develop a number of sites throughout the thirty two Grenadines chain. These include Mount Wynne (a 400-acre site for a hotel and 18 hole golf course), Young Island (13-acre site for a 30 room boutique hotel), Saint Hilaire (45-acres) and Park Estate (600-acres) both on Bequia, Isle a Quarte (376-acres), Balliceaux (320-acres), Chatham Bay near Union Island (99-acres) and Frigate Island (16-acres).

Even in a recessionary period, greatly improved air access will heighten interest in any of these new developments and those in progress like Canouan, which includes a 150 berth yacht marina, reportedly costing US$150 million alone.  How much longer can we go on watching the world, or in this case our regional competitors pass us by?

77 responses to “Case of Implementation Deficit in the Tourism Sector

  1. The government should have wide and sweeping powers in eminent domain laws to seize properties in order to collect taxes/vat owed from business people, don’t tell me the lawyers are only adept at stealing from the poor and trusting land wealthy blacks.

  2. Due Diligence

    Miller

    “Who or what will think of next to blame?”

    How about blaming Sandals? – http://www.sandals.com

    They are diverting North American tourists to their 14 resorts in Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia and now Grenada, with massive promotion and advertising with 3 – 4 full-page and half pages ads in Toronto newspapers every week, and no doubt in New York, Miami et al.

    “Why not levy on the properties and put them up for sale to recover the taxes?)”

    What a radical thought – maybe sell (even heaven forbid Heywoods) to Butch, who presumably gets concessions on real estate taxes but remits his VAT and PAYE and NIS levies to the jurisdictions where Sandals operates.

    There may have been a time when Butch needed Barbados more then Barbados needed Butch – but the world has changed. Imagine if Paradise Beach had become Sandals Paradise Beach, instead of the tax-payer subsidized pile of the rubble known as “Four Seasons” even though any undertaking that Four Seasons may have entered into to manage the property undoubtedly has long since terminated.

  3. @ac

    You are a liar because you commented that you visited St. Lucia and you never did. You should apologize.

  4. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | August 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM |
    “this is a herceulean task for govt in the islands because the laws are lenient in protecting corporate interest over tapayers interest.”

    You are wrong. Check with your “other half”.
    That is not the ‘correct’ interpretation of the laws governing taxation and revenue collection in Barbados. The Treasury or the Crown has a first call on all properties and estates (after funeral expenses). The laws are so tight that there are built-in provisions that hold the Directors (both past and present) personally liable for the non-payment of such taxes and statutory deductions from wages and salaries.

    It is the managerial incompetence which has been allowed to mushroom because of partisan political interference in the tax collection process.
    It is a matter of who knows which politician that is corrupting the system; nothing to do with the laws but with their reinforcement.
    Capiche?

  5. Read a comment recently on facebook by Dr. Karl Watson who agreed that our tourism product is tired and we meaning all stakeholders must do a better job.

  6. Miller………….now why am i not surprised that it is the bribe takers in each successive government both DLP and BLP, not enforcing the laws to seize properties for non-payment of VAT, TAXES and NIS contributions. Now they are faced with all those years of non-payment of the above and have the balls to complain that this money is owed to the taxpayer’s treasury. um, um uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! They already took the bribes they cannot expect to get payment unless they ENFORCE eminent domain laws as they should have been doing all along to collect the taxpayer’s money that has been owing these many years.

  7. Adrian Loveridge

    I don’t think many people in the industry would question that much of our hotel plant is tired. This isn’t the issue. The issue is how do WE collectively market Barbados to restore viability and enable individual properties to make the necessary upgrades. I can recall Sue Springer stating that the membership of the BHTA spend around $45 million a year of their own money in marketing. The BTA was allocated $100 million in this fiscal year,
    yet we are still experiencing 16 consecutive months of long stay visitor DECLINE and the lowest JULY visitors arrival in 11 years, despite the ‘success’ of Crop-Over. Until this problem is addressed, we are not going anywhere.

  8. @Adrian

    It is a tricky situation. If you have a tired plant which has to compete with fresher products in the region you will logically struggle. You will lose on price, you will lose on repeat visitors which will result in negative cash flow and revenue. It is a messy situation.

  9. Wait wunna put so muh stock on butch. it was not too long ago when he was asking thv govt of bahamas to bail sandals in one of the high end areas. i meaning bajans look at the externals to form conclusion but never want to look at the internals that drives the tourism industry albeit that govt involvement is also a big part of the financials with high risk involved at taxpayers expenses not knowing whether these enterprises would fail..

  10. look miller it is not that simple. these coporatons have lawyers to identify the loop holes that would give special privelge.in cases of seizure. also it can cost govt millions of taxpayers money trying to recover in the event these cases which eventually winds up in legal ramblings in court.

  11. The way i see it the government has an array of lawyers between the governing party and the opposition which easily number more than 30 lawyers in parliament, who should have the skills to plug those loop holes that business people use to rob the taxpayers.

  12. millertheanunnaki

    @ ac | August 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM |

    OK then ac if you think the forfeiture of property and subsequent sale to recover taxes owed is not going to work how about holding the Directors personally liable with one of the penalties being imprisonment?

    Now who do you think would intervene in such actions if not the 30 honest lawyers sitting in that honourably corrupt den of crooks thieves and liars?

    Any other options, ac, other than moaning and complaining? The laws are there and are constitutionally sound; they just need enforcing and implementation of policies already laid down just like the numerous laws in the country already sickened with a general malaise of incompetence and day-to-day partisan political interference.

  13. Carson C. Cadogan

    ADRIAN LOVERIDGE

    Can you tell us why the Deputy Commissioner of Police of your beloved St. Lucia has been sent on leave?

    Can you tell us why the American Government revoked his US visa?

    Can you also tell us why ” a police vessel previously donated to Saint Lucia by the US but later sent back for repairs, is currently held in Miami, along with a consignment of urgently needed spare parts for police vehicles.”?

  14. Carson…….people are more concerned about the budget now being tabled, we also want to know why the results for Cape came out since last week and the scholars are still waiting for direction, that is really more important than St. Lucia today, how come you are not at parliament giving support for the best budget bim has ever seen?

  15. Carson………your little distracting ploy flopped, i heard people are saying that they are not going to bed tonite unless they hear that budget, to them it seems like the government is waiting and playing for time for them to fall asleep, then they will give the newspapers some fresh lies to print for tomorrow and then tell more lies after to cement those lies and then lie some more……..Carson if that is the case, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  16. Carson C. Cadogan

    ADRIAN

    From my vantage point I don’t see St. Lucia advancing at all. I see it imploding. High levels of corruption by state officials, a low rating by Transparency International, extra judicial killing by an ad hoc unit of the St. Lucia Police Force, in essence a Police MURDER squad.

  17. Carson C. Cadogan

    St Lucia PM called on urgently to address police controversy

    By Caribbean News Now contributor

    CASTRIES, St Lucia — In response to a request for comment on the current controversy in Saint Lucia surrounding the commissioner of police and the admitted decision by the US government to “disallow” officers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force from participating in training programmes, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) said that Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony should immediately address the issue and inform the nation of the truth about what transpired.

    The LPM said that much of the recent embarrassment could have been averted had Anthony and his government been forthcoming with the people of Saint Lucia from the outset.

    No response to a similar request has yet been received from Allan Chastanet, the newly elected leader of the opposition United Workers Party.

    The LPM said that the government was forced to admit that the issues were serious and complex only after the matter became public.

    The government statement on Friday to the effect that the prime minister would address the situation on a date to be announced, and the government’s lack of transparency did little to inspire confidence in its handling of the situation, the LPM said.

    According to the LPM, “There were just too many mixed messages that, at the time, appeared evasive. It seemed that our government had not fully comprehended the seriousness of the issue.”

    The LPM said that this may have been responsible for fuelling the rumours that caused much embarrassment, not only to the commissioner of police but also to the government and people of Saint Lucia.

    The people, noted the LPM, should always be treated with the utmost respect regarding matters pertaining to national security.

    The situation has been widely debated in the local media, with one prominent local radio host commenting that there is more than meets the eye or that the government is willing to tell the public, thus being caught off guard in the process and now having to retract its plans.

    Participants on another radio talk show acknowledged that the reports regarding police commissioner Vernon Francois came out of the blue so far as the Saint Lucia public was concerned and reiterated the point that explanations are needed urgently.

    It was said, however, that the prime minister’s press secretary instead issued an “ambiguous” statement that did little to allay public concern.

    It appears that there is some uncertainty as to the current whereabouts of the prime minister but it was pointed out that, even if the prime minister is away, the deputy prime minister should nevertheless take action.

    Concern has also been expressed locally over the apparently deteriorated relationship with US, as well as the role of the US in the affairs of Saint Lucia.

    According to local sources, a Cabinet meeting on Monday was “tense.” There was something of a media frenzy following the meeting, but ministers declined to give interviews or otherwise comment on matters in the news.

    In a statement on Friday, the Saint Lucia government said it is aware of the concerns and anxieties expressed by the public over what it described as the decision by the United States to disallow officers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force from participating in several training programmes arranged or financed by the US.

    There is widespread speculation locally that the US crackdown may have something to do with the US State Department’s 2011 human rights report on St Lucia that described 12 potentially unlawful fatal police shootings during the year, some reportedly committed by officers associated with an ad hoc task force within the police department.

    There was only limited progress by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in reviewing and other investigations of unlawful killings dating back to 2006, the report added.

    The report also said that the government did not implement the existing anti-corruption law effectively, and officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.

    In the meantime, recent events have refocused attention in Saint Lucia on these and a number of other unaddressed questions, some also dating back several years.

    In particular, Anthony, then leader of the opposition, campaigned in the last general election on a promise, if elected, to make public the reasons behind the revocation of former housing minister Richard Frederick’s US visa. He has not yet done so since being re-elected to office in November 2011.

    The prime minister has also previously been called upon, without response, to explain why Deputy Commissioner of Police Moses Charles is currently on leave, also said to be as a result of a reported revocation of his US visa.

    The apparently deteriorating relationship with the US concerning law enforcement co-operation is also a source of local concern and the government itself acknowledged in its statement on Friday that “it is in our vital interest to maintain close ties of co-operation with the United States in security matters.”

    However, according to local reports, a police vessel previously donated to Saint Lucia by the US but later sent back for repair, is currently held in Miami, along with a consignment of urgently needed spare parts for police vehicles.

  18. Carson C. Cadogan

    “Dear editor, I would just like to bring to your attention (although you will already know) what is killing off your tourism trade.

    I am currently on holiday in Antigua. Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I was robbed. I was walking from my hotel to St John’s when this happened, and it also happened in broad daylight at around 2 pm.

    They threatened me and my teenage son with a very large knife, grabbing me by my shirt, and took my camera and money.

    The local police were great and tried their best to make us feel better, but after these events I can only be negative about my holiday.

    I have lived in London for 22 years, and travelled to so many places including Cape Town and Jo burg in South Africa, and I have never been robbed. I am due to fly back to the UK on Sunday, but will be making every effort to arrange a flight home today.

    I only wish that I could meet your minister of tourism and tell him the facts but that will never happen as he already knows what the problems are.

    I must say that my hotel experience has been 1st class and the staff here have been wonderful however the fact remains that how can I tell people that Antigua is a great holiday destination?

    I would love to thank the lady from the shop that helped both myself and my son. She was lovely and made us feel safe, however I will not be leaving the hotel again.”

    Read more: http://www.caribarena.com/antigua/opinions/letter-to-editor/104368-my-holiday-experience.html#ixzz2c4AqJJ2h

  19. Adrian Loveridge

    Carson,
    you has raised a good point if terms of the damage that violence, theft and robbery can do to any tourism industry.
    What do you think would be a reasonable time for a Minister of Tourism and local area Member of Parliament to visit the scene of a vicious attack on a two visitors?

    One Day
    Two Days
    Three Days
    Four Days
    Five Days
    Six Days
    Seven Days
    Eight Days
    or
    Nine Days ?

    I would have thought you might be more concerned of what is happening on your own doorstep, before repeatedly criticising your island neighbours, but of course, there would be no mileage in that, would there?

  20. Carson C. Cadogan

    St Lucia PM to issue statement on police controversy next Tuesday

    By Caribbean News Now contributor

    CASTRIES, St Lucia — Prime minister of Saint Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony, will issue a statement next Tuesday at 8:00 pm to address public concern over the decision of the United States to prohibit officers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force from “participating in training programmes arranged or financed by the United States of America,” the Office of the Prime Minister said on Thursda

    The revelation that the US has decided to “disallow” participation by police officers from Saint Lucia in US-organised training programmes came about following reports that Commissioner of the Royal St Lucia Police Force, Vernon Francois, had not been permitted to board a flight from Hewanorra International Airport in St Lucia to the United States.

    In a statement last Friday, the government acknowledged the situation but indicated only that the prime minister would issue a further explanation on a date to be announced.

    In the meantime, Anthony has been called upon to address the issue as a matter of urgency.

    The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) said that Anthony and his government should have been forthcoming with the people of Saint Lucia from the outset.

    However, Allan Chastanet, the newly elected leader of the opposition United Workers Party, said, “We are awaiting public announcement by PM, and then we will comment.”

  21. As it relates to the question of this implementation deficit disorder in many provinces, it is clear that one of the fundamental causes of this is the government going far beyond its optimal logical size.

    By over-reaching/over-extending itself as far as making so many decisions about things that it is unable to see manifested on time, and especially when it has an already essentially inefficient lethargic archaic decision policy making TAXATION stealing non-revenue earning unionized bureaucracy that is supposed to put those decisions into effect, and when this government bureaucracy is faced with so many unnecessary demands from the public, means to a great extent that such situations would have led to this implementation deficit order.

    PDC

  22. @PDC

    No PDC, it is a civil service that is not designed to process quickly accentuated by the political directorate who are spineless.

  23. Carson C. Cadogan | August 16, 2013 at 7:24 AM |
    The revelation that the US has decided to “disallow” participation by police officers from Saint Lucia in US-organised training programmes

    Did this ever happen to any Caribbean state even crime ridden Jamaica or Dominican Rep?
    St. Lucia as a relatively new tourist spot gets millions of dollars in free word of mouth promotion from the Barbados Labour Party and its supporters. Nothing intrinsically wrong with bigging up our neighbor but the BLP goes out its way to pull down Barbados in the process. Only the ubiquitous epitome of misery Adrian Loveridge trumps the BLP in the quest to destroy the land of the flying fish.
    Indeed the BLP and its supporters plainly tell the world that tourists should by pass Barbados and go the St. lucia. These same disloyal traitors then question why tourists are not coming in the numbers as before. Prodigal, miller, the blog owner, island gal et al literally say out loud Barbados is not worth a visit. If these so called intelligent Barbadians who benefitted from DLP Barrow’s free education can give the thumbs down to their own country what do you expect a curious tourist to do? The BLP is responsible for the flight of capital and tourists with its constant degrading of our beautiful island. Pele Bradshaw’s daughter spent her half hour on national tv urging tourists to go St. Lucia. Mara Thompson a native St. Lucian spent her half hour urging Barbadians to unite for the good of Barbados. Oh the irony.
    In the meanwhile the all powerful USA bans all police in St. Lucia including the Commissioner of Police from entering USA. You don’t have to be Einstein to guess why senior St. Lucian police and politicians are denied USA visas that island is an emerging hotbed of crime and corruption.
    Kofi Annan opined Barbados always punches above its weight. He knows the greatness of our island. Its time the disloyal turn their backs on the political expediency that’s hurting the country. Time for Bajans of every stripe to come back to our core values of love and commitment to the gem of the Caribbean.

  24. Do you know that speeches delivered by so called prominent people are prepared by others? Your stupid harping on this matter about St.Lucia’s COP, are you not inciting negative feelings between the countries wheren your stupid view maybe seen as representing a greater view. What a yardfowl you are.

  25. David,

    You would realize that when you said that ‘it is a civil service that was not designed to process quickly accentuated by a political directorate who are spineless.’, that the negative implicitly referenced in your argument makes it a tad weak since the same negative ( not designed ) is NOT the CAUSE of this implementation deficit disorder.

    There has to a series of casual positive relationships between the variables, to have caused this disorder.

    And given that this issue of an implementation deficit disorder has never until relatively recently in Barbados been a serious issue in the public domain ( and if at such times in the past there were any other names by which such non-actions could possibly have been subsumed under hitherto we are still sure they would still have had the same meaning), it is eminently reasonable to conclude that the bigger the government sector has over time become or has sought to become in the whole lives of the people in the various social commercial and other sectors of the country, the more the expectations of many members of the general public that those decisions that would have been made by government officials and that would have been helping to make government bigger would have been implemented by certain times and especially when certain time frames for the commencement of the implementation of those decisions would have been given by public sector officials.

    Well, the more these decisions are not implemented, the greater the disappointments frustrations infuriations by those who might otherwise have been the beneficiaries of those decisions – which may very well be associated with present day claims from some persons in Barbados, that the government is suffering from a serious bout of implementation deficit disorder.

    Just look though at the Cabinet system of government in Barbados – with there being elements of collective democracy involved at times, and where there are several ministers and their respective ministry officials that have to be involved in the making of one decision or a set of decisions and the other internal customers that must be involved in the execution of that decision those decisions. Just look at the great moderate amount of time that may be consumed in between the announcement of those decisions and the bringing of such people – the relevant private sector public sector people, if so, together, for such decisions to be made and implemented.

    So, David, the question is not one of the designs of the type of government sector the country has had (for those designs do not make the decisions or series of decisions) but is one of such of the nature of it (the different people of government sector, with similar or different motivations rationalizations, with similar consensuses or dissensuses ) or parts of it, that when these decisions are made however whenever , the amount of time ( which in this case is autonomous of any kind of structural designs – but still in this case is a product of functional behaviour) and that itself passes, for whatever reasons, before implementation is done, and the factors that help give rise to such a deficit.

    And what about the law of marginal diminishing returns as it applies to government and such decisional policy making implementation processes themselves??

    PDC

  26. @PDC

    Implementation deficit disorder has always been a problem. Why is appears to be an issue in the current environment is that we have breached our capacity to accommodate wastage/leakage.

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