Tag Archives: Caribbean

Notes From a Native Son: United we Stand, Divided We Fall – a Case for Greater Caricom Unity (In Memory of Norman Girvan)

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
The premature death of Professor Norman Girvan has robbed the Caribbean of one of its genuine intellectuals and, in particular, of the leading theorist of the regional union, Caricom. I had the misfortune of not knowing Professor Girvan personally, but feel as if I did: we have a regular email correspondence and have been guests together on a couple radio phone-in programmes. What makes this virtual friendship more real is that a very good friend and mentor, the woman I can thank for most of my political education, Selma James, the widow of the late CLR James, would often remind me that I should make contact with ‘Norman’, as she addressed him.

After the failure of the West Indies Federation in 1962, the most practicable attempt at regional unity since then has been Caricom. But, as I have said on a number of occasions here and elsewhere, although the intention is laudable, the reality has been sadly flawed. Ignoring for the time being the ill-thought out idea of a free movement of people – in a public debate in London some time ago I raised the issue of the Barbados legislation being specific about free movement for those who have graduated from the University of the West Indies and the University of Guyana, but other graduates enjoying the same benefit with the minister’s ‘discretion’. Someone once tried to persuade me that this ‘discretion’ will only be a formality, but can you imagine some small-minded minister having this weapon in his/her hands and not using it, especially if it is someone they have political objections to?

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CL Financial bailout – Really learning from the past

David:

It seems Barbadians have forgotten about CLICO and all the promises but what have we learned from the collapse? How have we sought to strengthen institutional capacity as a response? Is the Financial Services Commission (FSC) doing a job? Should Barbadians be privy to the sealed judicial report? What about those who were involved with CLICO Barbados and continue business as usual?

Afra Raymond’s journey in Trinidad covering CL Financial matters should serve to inspire others. This piece is recommended reading.

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

CB-gov - TTCSII am responding to the points made by Central Bank Governor, Jwala Rambarran, in his 6 November speech to the T&T Coalition of Service Industries.

This speech attempted to both re-affirm the Central Bank’s important role in our economy –

…as the country‟s prime financial regulator, the Central Bank has an almost fifty year record of maintaining the safety and soundness of the financial system…

and to distinguish Rambarran’s tenure as Governor since July 2012 –

…These are just a few of the initiatives the Central Bank has been working on over the last fifteen months to rebuild confidence, strengthen financial stability and to help create our future financial system…

Rambarran’s focus was “…First, “How did it all happen?” and, second…“What is being done to prevent a similar event from happening again?…”

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Complaint Letter To LIAT Airline

Submitted by Corey and Karen Burns
Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

It is with great disappointment that I have to express my disapproval with Liat and how Liat conducts business. Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from A to B quickly as possible. I find it preposterous that Liat can just change a flight plan while customers have already boarded the aircraft (on a direct flight I might add).

My wife and I were departing from our honeymoon in Antigua on Monday, October 28th, 2013 and were on Liat flight # 362 from Antigua to Puerto Rico which was a direct flight to San Juan. The flight was delayed of course (“island time”) however once on the aircraft an announcement was made that we were stopping in St. Kitts on our way to San Juan, but not five minutes later we were told that we were now going south to Dominica (total opposite way than San Juan).  We arrived in Dominica at which time a grand total of 8 passengers boarded the plane.  We were then told that we had to wait for a fuel truck, which was not ready when we arrived in Dominica.  We ended up waiting on the tarmac for over an hour with no water, no food, and no air conditioning. I used to work in the airline industry and had that happened in Canada, PEOPLE WOULD BE FIRED!!! Numerous passengers asked for information about when we would be taking off and when we would be landing in San Juan as every passenger on the plane had a connecting flight to catch.  None of Liat’s customer service agents would give us a straight answer. We finally left Dominica sometime after 1:30 pm, over an hour after we should have LANDED in San Juan.

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Government MUST be Transparent About the Waste to Energy Plant

Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe,

Minister of the Environment, Denis Lowe,

Where is the transparency? Two letters to the Minister of Environment Denis Lowe and a full page in September have not even garnered a response from the government. Is this government serious about open government?

Thus can you post the above article from Dr David Suzuki who the Future Centre Trust is hoping along with Nature Conservancy and Greenpeace to  ask for support? Thanks in advance on behalf of the other Environmental NGO’s

Kammie Holder, Advocacy Director, Future Centre Trust

Many urban areas have built or are considering building waste-incineration facilities to generate energy. At first glance, it seems like a win-win. You get rid of “garbage” and acquire a new energy source with fuel that’s almost free. But it’s a problematic solution, and a complicated issue.

Metro Vancouver has a facility in Burnaby and is planning to build another, and Toronto is also looking at the technology, which has been used elsewhere in the region, with a plant in Brampton and another under construction in Clarington. The practice is especially popular in the European Union, where countries including Sweden and Germany now have to import waste to fuel their generators.

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DLP: Bajans Not Good Enough – Neither Can They Reach Jamaicans High Standards – Work Permits Therefore Necessary

Henderson Bovell

Henderson Bovell

You can excuse the DLP if it did not care to read the ‘National Strategic Plan 2005-2025. But Goal #6 of that document speaks, in part, to: “Branding Barbados Globally.” When you read it, you begin to understand why the demise of a Barbadian brand like Almond, is a national scandal. I suppose the same can be said about the DLP’ reluctance to spend a puny US$500,000 to save a $80m Rum Industry, which will result in “a-310-year-old-company” leaving Barbadian hands for the first time in its history.

Of all people, the BLP, which is responsible for the “National Strategic Plan Document,” should understand that the issue of “Sandals” – is more than the quantum of concessions or what is contained in some MOU, especially since the same National Strategic Plan sought “to continue consolidating the country’s international image, particularly on account of political stability, educational quality, democratic governance and good leadership.”

I do not know that the present Barbados Cabinet and Government – are showing good leadership on tourism right now” because “Almond” is a Barbadian-home-grown-international-families-brand,” which was on par (in the view of many) with Sandals, which is nothing more than a Jamaican home-grown-international-families-brand. That makes Ralph Taylor, the equivalent of the Jamaican Butch Stewart.

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Unanswered Questions About the ROI on Tourism Initiatives

Adrian Loveridge - Hotelier

Adrian Loveridge – Hotelier

As we have now passed the latest ‘book-by’ date for the several times re-launched Barbados Island Inclusive promotion, is it time to analyse how cost effective the initiative has been? Especially as it was one of the very few, national marketing initiatives for this year that has either not been postponed, cancelled or simply just not implemented in the first place.

Just to remind readers, the stated objective was to generate an ‘additional’ 15,000 long stay visitors between the end of May and the 21st December 2013 who would spend BDS$30 million at a quoted cost of BDS$11 million to cover the promotional costs. Minister of Tourism (MOT), Mr. Sealy is on record as stating ‘all but $4 million will actually be spent on advertising’. On 22nd July 2013 the Barbados Government Information Service reported the MOT ‘had revealed that more than 5,000 tourists had taken advantage of the vouchers being offered under the programme’.

We know that even before the October figures are published, that ‘we’ are already experiencing an unprecedented 18 consecutive months of long stay visitor decline. So the word ‘additional’ is critical to evaluate because if the initiative had in fact generated any incremental numbers then it has been at a huge cost.

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The Integrity Account

Originally posted on AfraRaymond.com:

icttHaving completed my four-part series [1, 2 & 3, 4] on what I termed ‘The Integrity Threat‘, I was intrigued by two recent public notices on the meaning of the Appeal Court’s recent activity on these matters.

  1. 6 October  – The Integrity Commission issued a Public Notice which was a clear statement by the Commission that State Enterprises were within its lawful remit, according to the Appeal Court ruling on 27 June.  My reading of that ruling was that it effectively narrowed the 9th part of the Schedule to the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA) so that it only applies to Directors of Statutory Bodies performing public functions.  I maintain that view.  Even if one accepts the Commission’s reading of events, as set out in the exchange of emails in the sidebar, this ruling was a seriously retrograde step in the operation of…

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The Hilary Beckles Deception

Submitted by Pachamama
Sir Hilary Beckles, pro-vice-chancellor, University of the West Indies

Sir Hilary Beckles, pro-vice-chancellor, University of the West Indies

In the national waste paper, otherwise called ‘The Nation’, we see Hilary Beckles praising that ‘organization’ and more importantly reverting to a language from his previous life in an effort to achieve two competing and contradictory goals. First, Beckles is seeking to promote a reparations agenda which he feels will bring resources to institutions that pretend to act in the interest of the country/region. Secondly and on the down side, in his mind, by appearing to resort to a language of confrontation, Beckles may be seeking to somehow insulate himself from the collapse of the neo-liberal project which, with the aid of buddy Owen Arthur, he has greatly benefitted from, now that what he sees as his legacy is in great and mortal danger.

To put this artificial and renewed interest in Black empowerment, which Beckles now feels confident to mouth, it is necessary to locate his circular and convenient logic within its proper historical context. Beckles came back to the region some decades ago and located himself within a bureaucratic apparatus which was to give him certain protections. It was, and still is, an institution which suborns narratives about Black disenfranchisement, by people like Keith Hunte, as a lever for their personal advancement. So like Hunte, Beckles, in this most recent reincarnation in using the same idiom for personal advancement. This is a brazen initiative for self. Not even his mentor, Keith Hunte, came back to that narrative more than once.

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Is the Ministry of Tourism Underachieving?

Excerpts related to tourism Budget Speeches 2008 to 2012:

  • There are some critical national concerns and a Tourism Master Plan is currently being designed by a new Unit in the Ministry of Tourism designed to look at our tourism development strategy in a holistic way addressing our product, land use policy, marketing, carrying capacity and linkages to our other sectors and the lives of Barbadians among other matters.
  • The expansion of the luxury tourism market will include the construction and opening every two years of a major internationally branded luxury hotel and associated branded residences catering to the five-star and ultra luxury tourism market.
  • The expansion of the luxury room stock will also assist in the establishment of the Health Tourism market in Barbados.
  • I [the late David Thompson’s first budget] have just returned from a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting at which tourism, regional and international transport were discussed for one full day. Some important decisions were taken including the commitment to a regional brand, the establishment of a Caribbean Tourism Marketing Fund and discussions are taking place between LIAT and Caribbean Airlines Limited on their future together – Budget 2008

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Minister Richard Sealy is a Pedigree JA

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy

To bloggers who listened to the radio clip (compliments of VOB) today which featured Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy defending governments washpan of concessions to CPH Property Holdings (Barbados) Limited and Grande Cass Management (Barbados) Limited together known as SANDALS – see Government’s Concessions to SANDALS Barbados, they would have been offended. He made reference to the front page of the Nation newspaper which carried a a story highly critical of the concessions given to Butch Stewart’s companies. And here is what some bloggers may deem to be offensive, he stated he expected what the Nation published to be posted on the blogs or discussed under a tamarind tree.

Minister Sealy is free to have his opinion afterall we boast of living in a democracy. However, when he feels bold enough to disparage what we do on the blogs, he invites a response from BU albeit a reluctant one.

Minister Sealy should bear in mind that BU is used prolifically by his colleagues to disseminate information which the traditional media is not geared to facilitate. Have we not had the pleasure of Minister Donville Inniss venturing into this forum to interact with BU bloggers when he sought to defend his choice of Kingsland as a possible location for a new hospital? Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner has posted to BU on several occasions. BU will not mention all the DLP politicos who post to BU using monikers. What does he make of his colleagues who post and read BU? Perhaps one day BU will be persuaded to post some of the comments posted to BU by the late Prime Minister David Thompson.

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