Author Archives: David

Call for Immediate Forensic Audit into the Operations of GEMS

rodney_wilkinson

Rodney Wilkinson in handcuffs

The news that the bagman has been arrested on 67 counts of fraud is big news in Barbados. In BU’s opinion it ranks in the top three memorable moments since our Independence because of his high profile status given his connection to high profile politicians. Time will tell if our competent legal system will work to make at least 25% of the charges ‘stick’.

Those who wonder if the bagman would have had to suffer the same public ridicule as the former Prime Minister’s brother Richard Arthur had a different administration been in office, probably not. The scenario playing out gives hope to the optimists that the wheels of justice may yet turn on one of its own.

Rodney Wilkinson was the CEO of GEMS/HRL project that included at the time Savannah Hotel, Blue Horizon, Time Out, Eastry House and Silver Rock properties. The W in JAWS is for Wilkinson?

BU will be labelled as being foolishly optimistic by some to expect the justice system to wheel into motion to work like it is suppose to in the matter of Wilkinson versus Globe Finance and NASSCO.  The Auditor General has been unflattering in several reports regarding the management of Hotel Resorts Limited aka GEMS. In light of recent events BU is calling for a forensic audit into the operations of Hotel Resorts Limited in the period when Wilkinson was CEO.

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Senior Citizens Affected by National Insurance Glitch and LATE Tax Returns a Possibility

The National Insurance Office wishes to advise customers that a hardware malfunction has severely affected its computer network. As a result, the delivery of all benefits including pensions will be delayed. The NIS technical team has been working consistently to rectify the matter but it is anticipated that it will take about three weeks to correct the problem and restore the network to its full capacity. The National Insurance Office apologises for the inconvenience causedNIS Website (30.09.2014)

The National Insurance  Scheme (NIS) has advised that they have encountered a computer hardware problem and it will take about three weeks (they hope) to mail benefit cheques including pensions. It is unimaginable if the same malfunction were to occur in a private sector company the catastrophic impact it would have on the business.  The cryptic message delivered by the NIS fails to give insight as to the nature of the problem therefore Barbadian taxpayers and those directly impacted by the hardware problem are left to speculate as to how come.

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Paul Bynoe (B’s Recycling) Story

paulbynoe_B'sRecycling

Click to read Paul Bynoe’s letter

Understanding Aquaponics and Growing Food

Submitted by Damien Hinkson
We need to produce food.

We need to produce food.

My first true commercial farm upgrade to aquaponics (AP) is complete, the first of many more as the commercial farmers are rushing to exploit the labor saving qualities of AP. This type of farming comfortably puts you in the .3 to .7 worker per acre range, amazingly, with no additional labour skill sets required. This reduction in labor is replaced with small, constant energy usage.

When upgrading, priority is to utilize materials from on-site, the aim is to keep this as simple and cost effective as possible. Most pioneering farmers have usable materials from past projects, check. I wouldn’t go as far as to advice on system design because all systems, programs and growers are unique; however experience and good system design when converting are crucial for the continuity of the farm.

As a long time consultant on all things aquaponic and farming in general there are certain dynamics I have become acutely aware of in regards to farm and farmer for a project to be a success. I have some important ones list out here.

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A New Start for Tourism

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge

When you are working with miniscule marketing budgets, securing sponsorship is absolutely critical to the overall success of most promotions. The secret is to ensure that any sponsor ‘investing’ in a bigger picture project achieves a cost effective return. That cannot be done without a careful evaluation of potential linkages and mutual benefits.

Quoting from a well known business publication, ‘Sponsorship should not be confused with advertising. Advertising is considered a quantitative medium, whereas sponsorship is considered a qualitative medium’. Beneficial partnerships can add tremendous value and credibility, especially if increased sales and market share can be directly measured to the strategic alliance. It also makes it far more likely that the sponsor would be willing to support future ventures.

There are many creative ways that the process can be enhanced. For instance with our current dine-around initiative we persuaded a major distributor to offer a range of wines at a special rate to our restaurants partners, allowing a greater net return for the individual establishments and growing the suppliers market share. Other sponsors have a monthly option of offering one or more of their products at reduced prices.

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The Failed Entrepreneurial State

Sir Dwight Venner - Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

Sir Dwight Venner – Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank

BU listened with interest to the Governor of the ECCB Sir Dwight Venner as he delivered the annual Leo Leacock Memorial Lecture during Small Business Week 2014 (SBA) which ran from September 21 to September 27. Of interest also:  the week  culminated with  an Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Hilton with our friendly neighbourhood academic Avinash D. Persad invited to deliver the featured address titled The Entrepreneurial State. Coincidentally, Persad delivered the annual Leo Leacock lecture in 2009. A pet peeve of BU is why the race by the SBA to invite so many academics to address an audience presumably of budding and established entrepreneurs. Persad’s speech was littered with the usual amorphous references to Steve Jobs, Carlos Slim, Larry Ellison with no reference to past or rising entrepreneurs from Barbados or the region who have blazed a trail. This is the problem BU has with academics who often (through no fault of their own) become detached from the reality. And no BU is not anti academic.

For those who listened and observed his body language Sir Dwight Venner expressed a hopelessness with the Barbados development engine for absconding its leadership role in the region. Bear in mind this is a man who walks in the shadows of regional political and business leaders. We all agree SMEs have to be part of the solution but we continue to struggle jumpstarting the sector. Like a stuck record we have to listen to SBA CEO Lynette Holder’s query whether we have a category called entrepreneur in Barbados or whether our policymakers even acknowledge an invigorated SME sector as being critical to the lifeblood of the Barbados economy.   Like the minibus culture which has been allowed to take root by successive administrations so too they have demonstrated a basement level of ignorance about how to foster an environment that will release the potential of the Barbadian entrepreneur.

Is it not logical to conclude that our pre-colonial education model is failing us and we need to change it? Are our leaders unable to appreciate if we continue to use the same model we will not get a different result? We are happy to produce a nation of employees by suppressing those who would aspire to create capital by unleashing talents driven by a yearning to self actualize swimming in an ethos of entrepreneurial activity? Are we a highly literate nation or not?

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BAMP Proposes Health Tax

Submitted by Anthony Davis
Dr. Carlos Chase, President of BAMP

Dr. Carlos Chase, President of BAMP

With the financial viability of the health care system under threat,  the head of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) HAS OFFERED Government a rescue plan. President Dr. Carlos Chase today proposed the establishment of a Health and Education Security (HES) Fund that he said could put an estimated $120 million into Government’s coffers annually. Under that plan, $100 would come from the approximate 100,000 workers in Barbados and paid into the HES Fund which he said be managed by the National Insurance Scheme” – Barbados Today

Pray tell me, Dr. Chase, how many more taxes should be put on the backs of the people of this country? $100 annually may not be nothing but a drop in the ocean for you and some others in our society, but we still have people in our country who are being paid $5/hour – with a loaf of bread costing $5.00. How are such people to pay an additional tax no matter how small?

Paying the money into the NIS would be like putting a child in a candy store and telling him/her to take what he/she wants for the Minister of Finance as he would have more money which he could dispose of as he pleases – especially to pour into the bottomless pit called “Four Seasons” which is always about to start, and has not been resurrected up to now. Putting it into the NIS Fund would be the worst move. It should not be placed anywhere where Government can get its hands on it.

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