Author Archives: David

Metabolic Syndrome: Fatty Bum Bum

Barbadians love sugar and this is no secret. We are known also as the amputation capital of the world and the high incidence of non communicable diseases is also no secret. There is evidence more Barbadians are buying into good diet and exercise albeit at too sluggish a rate.

Related link: Rational Approach To Diet, Exercise

Thanks to Bentley.

Notes From a Native Son: Insurance Companies Are a Licence to Print Money: Who Insures the Insurers?

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

All financial firms should by law be compelled to submit an annual business model to the regulator and supervisor for assessment if they are to continue to trade. This should be a basic condition to provide adequate consumer protection and the integrity of the financial supervisory and regulatory systems.
As has been stated before, the business models of insurance companies and banks, the two major financial sectors, are totally different. While banks borrow short and lend long, a flawed business model if ever there was one, insurance companies are often compelled to have a capital adequacy of at least 110 per cent of its likely liabilities. And, of the various branches of insurance – unemployment, health, home, motoring, disaster, etc. – the greatest moral hazard is motor insurance; it is the low hanging fruit, in that it is the easiest for insurance companies to make lots of money while paying out a relatively low percentage of claims.

First, unlike life and health insurance, or even unlike home and contents insurance, motorists are compelled by law to have insurance. Unlike life and pensions insurance, for example, there is no need to base actuarial assumptions on a continuous mortality investigation report and the one in two hundred event assumption is in many ways only theoretical since there is no longevity risk. Generally, there are two broad kinds of insurance regulation: firm-specific and industry-wide. Firm-specific regulation and supervision is when the authorities are focusing on a single firm, going through its books, interrogating its staff, and talking to a sample of its customers. This may arise out of a formal complaint, market rumour, suspicion or a randomised stress test.

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First Sexual Experience: 40% of Bajan Females Point to Being Coerced or Rape

Submitted by Charles Knighton
Dr. Clive Landis,  Professor Cardiovascular Research University of the West Indies ... · Chronic Disease Research Centre

Dr. Clive Landis, UWI
  · Chronic Disease Research Centre

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, has again stressed the importance of keeping aspects of Barbados’ heritage (traditions) and history in the forefront during the season of Emancipation, “so that both young people and adults can truly appreciate what is being celebrated.”  A society that does not either understand or value its history and traditions is a society verging on suicide, for if you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. And what is tradition if not the living faith of the dead?

In her article Tourism defenders (April 15 Advocate), Janelle Husbands leads with the adage that “good news travels fast and bad news even faster” before discussing the importance of the image we portray in attracting tourists to Barbados.

What image of Barbados was portrayed by the recent release of the findings of a study by Dr. Clive Landis that forty percent of Barbadian females’ first sexual experiences came about through coercion or by rape? Though males were not included in this study, with such a high percentage of females reporting such experiences, it seems safe to draw the inference that over half of all children in Barbados are victims of sexual abuse.

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s Vision for Agriculture

Click to read full text of the speech (Adobe PDF)

Click to read full text of the speech (Adobe PDF)

Trade Unions and the Great Conspiracy

Submitted by William Skinner
...Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector ...

…Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector …

In our midst, there are some very skilful manipulators of public opinion, who would like to give the impression that the trade union movement has only been in bed with the Democratic Labour Party. This is a great lie. The truth is that both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party have enjoyed incestuous relationships with the trade unions. I say unions because a very close and objective observation would reveal that none of the major unions has avoided being hijacked, at some point or the other, by members of the two ruling parties.

Ever since the fall of Grantley Adams, the Barbados Labour Party has been in the main supported by the traditional corporate sector and really had no need for the financing of its politics either in money or kind from the BWU. This left the field wide open for Errol Barrow to inflame the traditional white corporate sector and skilfully create a black rising business/professional class that has supported the Democratic Labour Party. Barrow established a very clever bond of capital and Labour and with great cunning, convinced the masses that the Dems were for them and the Bees for the whites. The Bees equally cunning deliberately started to paint the Dems as anti-employer and the ploy of these two behemoths parties has continued. And it has worked amazingly well.

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Windows XP Advisory to the Caribbean Region

Submitted by James Bynoe, Caribbean Cyber Security Centre
...Windows XP, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft as of April 8th 2014 ...

…Windows XP, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft as of April 8th 2014

The Caribbean Cyber Security Center would like to urge all Caribbean businesses, governments, and home users running the Microsoft Windows XP operating system (OS) to aggressively plan to upgrade from Windows XP, which is no longer being supported by Microsoft as of April 8th 2014.

So what exactly does that mean to you as a Windows XP business, government or home user?

It means that Microsoft will not be doing two key things needed to protect your Windows XP computer in today’s rapidly expanding cyber war being waged against the Caribbean by cyber criminals and hackers, (1) Microsoft will not be providing any XP system or security updates which means that hackers and cyber-criminals will be able to compromise systems running Windows XP with growing ease, and (2) if you have problems related to Windows XP, Microsoft will not be providing any free support as you will now have to pay Microsoft for extended support. It was recently reported that the U.S Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who missed their April 8th deadline to upgrade their systems running Windows XP had to pay Microsoft millions for extended XP support. Microsoft XP extended support is being reported at an estimated cost of $200.00US per system for the first year, which ironically is the approximate cost of upgrading to Windows 8.

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Rise of the Professional Politician

Westminster system

Westminster system

In a popular democracy, citizens, collectively, are the ultimate principal; elected representatives are their agents. These agents are also principals who, through the legislature, delegate authority to a host of departments and agencies that make up the sprawling executive branch of government – Fraser Institute

It has become obvious to many several built in checks and balances of the Westminster system of government Barbados has adopted from its colonial past are failing.  It is a system of governance which requires exhaustive participation by citizens to work effectively. Nearly 40% of eligible voters  did not vote in the last general election, an obvious symptom of a democracy in decay if we sample just one indicator.

Auditor General reports (2004 to 2013) of successive governments record a consistent performance of fiscal indiscipline. A flouting of the financial rules. An easy translation of the Auditor General’s comments can be described as  a system of graft and corruption. A scary observation is that the private sector is the entity which sells goods and services to government therefore citizens who should be holding ‘government’ accountable are complicit. In the case of Barbados we may not compare with Nigeria and other more openly corrupt countries but there is a view the covert nature of how we do business places us in the ballpark.

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Oxnard Housing Model Needs Clarification

Submitted by Due Diligence
Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs

LEADER of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Maxine McClean, has lauded the model to be used in the construction of houses in the Oxnards, St. James area as part of Government’s Housing Every Last Person programmeBarbadosAdvocate

The Senator appears not to understand how a home builder finances the construction of homes, and how a home buyer finances/pays for his/her purchase of the home. At the end of the day, once that person gets their mortgage approved, that person does not have access to any funds under the mortgage commitment ”to start to make their payments”.  The mortgage lender makes one advance – when the home is completed.

Assuming it has a good credit rating and title to the property, sign off on the agreement and accessing a mortgage (commitment by the home buyer) would allow the home builder/contractor to negotiate financing with its bank to for the cash flow needed to build the home; but the home buyer does not provide working capital into the project, he/she pays for his/her home when it is completed.

My understanding is that it normally works like this…

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BU Video of the Week – The KEYS to Sustainable Economic Development and Successful Entrepreneurship

Sandals, Almond, Butch, Bernie…Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier 

I have been following the various views expressed, vested or otherwise, over the last few weeks comparing the merits of proceeding with the stated non-binding Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Sandals group of companies and Government or allowing the current operator of Almond Beach Village to take over the entire property. What appears dismally lacking is any comprehensive analysis detailing the potential financial benefits of both options for the short, medium and long term. With Sandals now closed, at least until December, the majority of fiscal activity will be generated by construction, where virtually all materials used are imported and require foreign exchange to pay for them.

Even with just 160 rooms out of a total of 396 currently open, Almond St. Peter will continue to earn somewhere around BDS$2 million per month at 85 per cent occupancy. With all rooms fully functional that amount would increase to approximately BDS$6 million. Meaningful employment would not only be retained but substantially grown year round increasing NIS and tax contributions to Government. And on the subject of tax, the current Almond ‘managers’ still pay VAT and from what I understand largely source the majority of consumables locally.

Then there is the critical airlift support question. Nearly 16,000 seats this year have been lost with the closure of Sandals. Almond is helping to fill around 300 of these per week, based on current room availability which could climb to nearly 800 weekly, if the entire hotel was open, based on an average 7 night stay. When, as planned, Almond then closes again on April 2015, it will be years before a new Beaches adds any additional or replacement airlift. Whether during the interim this leads to even more reduction in air services, either in frequency or curtailment of routes, only time will tell.

Meanwhile another 240 rooms remain empty, abandoned and unproductive at the derelict Sam Lords Castle, as the CLICO debacle slumbers on and on. The current administration has been less than candid over what amounts of NIS, land and other taxes are still outstanding by the owners of this property. As a preferred creditor in this case, it is also puzzling that over $100 million can be found to buy Almond, but not a lesser amount to acquire and restore, what is in many respects, an equally attractive location with tremendous land potential for expansion.

The site lends itself to building a new conference centre, providing over two hundred truly 4 star suites and the possibility of enticing a world brand to manage it. There is probably no better location than Long Bay to attract substantial numbers of incentive or motivational groups either.  Despite the open hostility frequently directed at hoteliers on Barbados the general public perhaps tend to forget that Government is in fact already the largest single owner of accommodation room stock on the island.

Very few of us in the private sector consider this desirable or even sustainable, but until our political directorate levels the playing field, as has been repeatedly promised for months, this is very unlikely to change in the near future.