Barbados Today Read, Watch, Listen & Discuss Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:13:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Squash Club goes hi-tech Wed, 24 Sep 2014 00:13:35 +0000 Columbus Business Solutions (CBS), the business arm of Columbus Telecommunications Barbados Limited, is bringing squash in Barbados into the age of technology and all its possibilities.

The Barbados Squash Club recently signed on with CBS to have the entire club Wi-Fi-enabled so that all patrons and players alike can have access to free super-fast internet.

(From left) President of the Barbados Squash Club, Paul McLeod (left), Barbados' top female player Karen Meakins and Jaggernauth Dass, vice- president of Columbus Business Solutions while at the Barbados Squash Club.

(From left) President of the Barbados Squash Club, Paul McLeod (left), Barbados’ top female player Karen Meakins and      Jaggernauth Dass, vice- president of Columbus Business Solutions while at the Barbados Squash Club.

Club president Paul McLeod expressed his gratitude to members of the CBS team at a recent presentation where he said that as a sports club operated by volunteers, having suppliers that could be relied upon was something to be cherished.

“So when the Barbados Squash Club was searching for an internet provider, not only did CBS have the business solution, they also delivered. Within 24 hours of deciding to go with CBS, the club was connected and able to stream video of live matches.”

He said that recently, the Caribbean Squash Championships were played at the club and people from around the world were able to watch live squash, all eight days of the tournament thanks to CBS.

Vice-president of CBS Jaggernauth Dass said: “CBS was proud to partner with the squash club given its positive influence on fitness and health which equates to a healthier community and a healthier Barbados. Squash and CBS are a natural synergy given that squash is a fast-moving high-impact sport and CBS delivers fast and reliable hi-tech business class solutions.”

Dass added that technology was advancing at an astounding rate and businesses and sporting facilities alike had to be equipped with the tools to support business functions and enhance customer experiences.

“We live in an age where service providers must either adapt or perish,” she said.


]]> 0
Bus overturns in St Philip Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:37:12 +0000 The driver of a Transport Board bus was slightly injured when the vehicle overturned on Summerville Road, near Her Majesty’s Prison at Dodds, in St Philip, around 6:20 am.

Steve Haynes, 42, was driving the bus – which was chartered for school children – from Church Village in the same parish when it broke the barriers of the bridge and overturned into a ravine.

There were no passengers on board.

Haynes complained of slight injury to his leg.

Workers from Crane & Equipment removed the bus from the ravine around 9:45 am.


















]]> 15
Literate what! Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:52:21 +0000 Social activist Bobby Clarke believes that despite their much praised education, Barbadians have not progressed mentally past the times before the 1937 Rebellion. Speaking at the monthly University of Independence Square meeting last night, Clarke said that what he saw as lack of mental movement was to be blamed on an education system that prepared persons to be employed only –– mostly in Government.

Social activist Bobby Clarke at last night’s University Of Independence Square meeting. 

Social activist Bobby Clarke at last night’s University Of Independence Square meeting.

“All of your life you all have heard the nonsense statement ‘Barbados is a very literate country’. We can read and write,” he said in Independence Square, Bridgetown, but added: “That’s all we can do. We can’t think because the system is created to make sure you do not think.

“It is the same system we had prior to 1937. It has not shifted. We go to school to come out and learn how to work for the Government –– in the Post Office, in the police, the fire station. That’s what we come out to learn to do.”

Clarke asked: “Is that what we went to school for? Is that what we spent all those years for, to  sell stamps?

“If you can count to ten, you can sell stamps. You can leave school at second standard, or primary school and sell stamps . . . . We do not come out to learn anything about development of ourselves and our country.

“The 1937 Barbados Rebellion, led by Clement Payne, was for the recognition of Barbadians across the island in all spheres of life, and led to changes such as political representation of all the people in Parliament, instead of the landowner and planter class only. That uprising is hailed as the pathfinder to pre-Independence introduction of free education,” said Clarke. But the social activist said that in the year 2014 “we still have the majority of Barbadian working class working in the Government, pushing paper”.

The attorney-at-law dismissed Barbadian education as meaningless.

“You talk we are highly educated. The Press keeps talking nonsense that we are number 13 or 14 in some element [international ranking] to do with education, and we can’t produce a bicycle. We can’t produce a computer.

“So what do we have? Just a continuing education system that says you must not be able to do anything for yourself or your country. And we have a hungry population, a dysfunctional population, Members of Parliament who can’t think, and we still at the level saying we are educated people.”

win a honda

ALSO If you sign up for Barbados Today before independence you could WIN a 2014 Honda City! Go here for full details

]]> 2
Caretakers under financial pressure Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:36:56 +0000 They may not have secured a seat in the House of Assembly but caretaker candidates for both the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP) are increasingly being called upon to help out constituents financially.

Barbados TODAY spoke with several caretakers who said they are finding it difficult to service the needs of residents with genuine hardships who turn up at their workplaces and homes, complaining about being unable to make ends meet.

Former parliamentary representative for St Michael South Central, David Gill, who unsuccessfully represented the BLP in the 2013 general election, said although he has not been in the House of Assembly since 2003, constituents continue to turn to him for assistance “and you cannot turn them away”.

David Gill

David Gill

“Once people can identify you with a party as a candidate, as a senator, as a sitting member, as a former member, you cannot get away from them. They see you as someone in whom they can confide and approach for assistance until you say goodbye to politics . . . . People are therefore looking to you for assistance in one form or another and it does not have to be monetary. Between the general election and now I have done all sorts of services for the people,” he said.

“Those people whom you think would be most able to handle their day-to-day problems are now feeling the brunt of Government’s austerity measures,” Gill added, noting that young people in their 20s and 30s were telling him on a daily basis that they had lost all hope and found it difficult to face challenges.

Meanwhile, expressing similar sentiments, BLP caretaker for St Philip North, Indar Weir, said people in the constituency were mainly concerned with finding employment and he has been inundated with such requests.

Identifying some of the challenges confronting the young people in the area, Weir said: “One of the issues that is high ranking is child support. I have had mainly fathers coming to me and asking for support to avoid incarceration or to take care of pregnant girlfriends. There are also people who say they cannot afford to buy food. Those are not in any alarming numbers, but they are some who are seeking assistance to buy groceries and paying utilities. The ones seeking employment are usually concerned that they will default on their bills and therefore they would like to find something to do immediately.”

“You know for sure when people are suffering. However, as a caretaker you have to draw on your own resources, however limited. In many cases you do not have any resources to draw on, but you draw on social contacts to get as much as an interview for the person,” he added.

Weir said that 90 per cent of those who came for assistance were experiencing genuine hardships.

One other Opposition candidate who asked not to be identified told Barbados TODAY that he found it difficult to go into the constituency because the requests were overwhelming.

“I recognize that the majority of the requests for assistance are genuine, but I do not have the financial resources to satisfy the requests,” he said.

At least two of those candidates who ran on the DLP ticket in the last general election told similar stories to Barbados TODAY.

Government Senator Patrick Todd said he was trying his best to assist in whatever way he could.

“I try to identify the most needy cases. Many people may have needs, but they are also a very proud people and would not like the whole of Barbados know about their issues. I therefore respect that and point them in the right direction,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Verla De Peiza, who unsuccessfully contested the Christ Church West seat in the 2013 general election on a DLP ticket, said the constituents’ expectation of assistance, even from caretakers, was par for the course, although she noted that she did not get many requests for financial assistance.

“You determine to give service however the service is required. What I do is seek donations that I can distribute . . . . I do not know how different it is from being the actual Member of Parliament, having not been one, but I maintain a presence in the constituency. My office is still open, I still walk the constituency, I still attend functions. I do not know how different it is from being the representative minus the remuneration but then I never entered politics for the remuneration,” she said.

]]> 0 Kellman slammed Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:31:19 +0000 Minister of Housing Denis Kellman is being slammed for characterizing Six Men’s residents who are complaining about expansion work at Port Ferdinand Marina as squatters.

The criticism has come from social activists David Comissiong and Robert “Bobby” Clarke who accused Kellman of treating residents unfairly in favour of a developer.

Residents close to the St Peter development have complained that they have been left in the dark over plans to build a new road leading into the marina and expressed concern that the digging and dredging work was coming dangerously close to their homes.

However, Minister of Housing and Lands and Denis Kellman told the media last week: “What you might have seen are squatters complaining . . . . The only difference is that the person they are complaining about has permission, but they do not have permission.”

Speaking at the University of Independence Square over the weekend, Comissiong and Clarke said Kellman was wrong to describe the residents in that way.

He said the land was the property of the people, either through labour on the land or Government purchase, so the Minister of Housing was wrong to call residents, squatters.

“He dismissed them as if they didn’t exist,” Commisiong said. “I would like to tell the minister that all the land in Barbados has been paid for many times over by the blood, sweat and tears of the ancestors of the black people of this country. Through centuries of slave labour it has been paid for, and you dismiss black people whose families . . . live there, [for] some wealthy expatriate. You dismiss these people and tell them they are squatters, they have no rights,” Comissiong said.

Clarke reminded the small Independence Square audience that Government, under the former Owen Arthur administration, had bought the land with taxpayers’ money.

He added that the residents were promised development of the area but to this day, “they have more than 200 tenants on that land. They have no roads on that land. You go through little tracks.”

“You have no ownership of that land. You cannot go to a bank and or lending agency or a credit union to put on a toilet on your house, because you have no papers anyway to borrow any money,” Clarke said.

Opposition MP Trevor Prescod described the situation as an example of private sector interests influencing Government.

“Corporate Barbados now has an executive arm in the form of the state. This is a new form of governance all together. One day we were talking about the judiciary, the executive, the legislature, now you got an executive form in the Government.

“And because the politicians . . . go cap in hand and beg them for money in order to carry out these special types of election campaigns in this country, then they have to understand that when they get the millions of dollars, there is something called payback time,” Prescod alleged.

]]> 4 Monument to seafarers Tue, 23 Sep 2014 08:30:46 +0000 Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy yesterday revealed that consideration was being given to erecting a monument in honour of people who had worked at sea. He made the announcement at a service at the Church Of The Nazarene, in Collymore Rock, St Michael, that marked the start of Maritime Week 2014.

“We also take this opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous work that has been done for Barbados by seafarers,” Sealy said. “I think it’s important that we also give thanks during this Maritime Week for this work and also to make sure, going forward, that others who decided to make a living as seafarers can be assured of proper conditions of labour.”

A day earlier, an event was held at the Bay Street Esplanade to celebrate Seafarer’s Day. At that time, the minister disclosed that Government was moving to strengthen the laws that dealt with conditions of work for people employed at sea.

Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy greeting people at the Seafarer’s Day event at the Bay Street Esplanade.  Inset, Minister  of Housing  Denis Kellman. 

Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy greeting people at the Seafarer’s Day event at the Bay Street Esplanade. 
Inset, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman.


Dennis Cut Loose Springer was part of the entertainment on Saturday. 

Dennis Cut Loose Springer was part of the entertainment on Saturday.

Noting the “huge sacrifices” made and “yeoman service” given by seafarers, Sealy said his administration was actively reviewing current legislation. He said this would complement the Maritime Labour Convention that went into effect in Barbados on June 20.

“The Maritime Labour Convention addresses the conditions of employment and the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on ships,” Sealy explained. “I cannot overemphasize the importance of this convention –– oft-times called the Seafarer’s Bill Of Rights –– to the promotion and securing of safe and secure working conditions.

“Barbados already has in place national laws with respect to, inter alia, crew agreements, seafarers’ hours of work and rest and repatriation. However, my ministry is actively reviewing the legislation so as to strengthen the national requirements.”

During the short ceremony, Sealy announced that Gershon Shepherd had won the Minister’s Prize for being most outstanding student in maritime studies at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.

]]> 0
Bring them back Tue, 23 Sep 2014 05:56:09 +0000 The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is demanding the immediate reinstatement of 28 retrenched lifeguards to avoid any more loss of lives on the island’s beaches, insisting that their roles are just as important as police and emergency services.

   Senior industrial relations officer at NUPW, Wayne Walrond, told Barbados TODAY that no lifeguard should have been sent home as part of Government’s mass retrenchment exercise in light of the critical role they play in protecting the lives of beachgoers.

   And he has insisted that lifeguards should not only be given back their jobs, but transferred from the National Conservation Commission (NCC) to another area of the Government service.

   Walrond’s call came in the wake of the drowning of 18-year-old Shaquille Oneal Denny on September 12. He was diving off a cliff at the beach at Crane, St Philip when he got into difficulties.

Senior industrial relations officer at the NUPW, Wayne Walrond.

Senior industrial relations officer at the NUPW, Wayne Walrond.

“We are asking NCC, as a matter of urgency, to rethink its decision and to have the lifeguards back on the job. This cannot be counted in dollars and cents if a tourist losses his or her life, or a local, because of the absence of a lifeguard. We are not saying that these incidents can’t happen and you have to make sure that you mitigate against persons losing their lives . . . by having an adequate number of lifeguards,” he said.

“I don’t think NCC attaches the significance to lifeguards as if it was under some critical area like the emergency services and fire services. The Government has not reduced critical services like the prison service, the police and emergency services. Those areas weren’t cut because of the importance of those areas. Had lifeguards been attached to one of those agencies, we believe they would have been treated with the seriousness they deserve.”

Currently, there are an estimated 59 active lifeguards stationed at various locations throughout the island.

Walrond argued that although the NCC management expressed confidence, prior to the layoffs, that there would be enough lifeguards to have four stationed at each tower they did not take some factors into consideration, including lifeguards who were medically unfit to conduct their duties or those who have been reassigned, given days off, or were required to go on leave.

“Prior to the cuts there were already short and that is why they trained some [lifeguards] last year [and had them] on standby to be recruited to add to the count to come up to international standards. We need 106 lifeguards if we are going to comply with international standards,” the NUPW representative explained.

“Because of the shortage, you are also endangering the lives of your lifeguards. If you have one lifeguard on duty and he has to go to a rescue and he gets into difficulty, he has to come back; he has to save himself first.”

Walrond contended that the NCC has a duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its staff and should therefore take appropriate action, according to the required standards.

   “I don’t want to face any story where you get the news that a lifeguard has lost his or her life in a rescue attempt because they alone worked. You need a team approach to lifeguard coverage,” he insisted.

win a honda

ALSO If you sign up for Barbados Today before independence you could WIN a 2014 Honda City! Go here for full details

]]> 0
Police make progress in car probe Tue, 23 Sep 2014 05:34:57 +0000 A businessman is being questioned by police in connection with investigations into the operations of Executive Rentals Inc.

The office of Executive Rentals on Worthing has effectively been closed.

The office of Executive Rentals on Worthing has effectively been closed.

  A senior police officer confirmed to Barbados TODAY this evening that while the man was assisting in the investigations, no charges have been laid.

   This is the latest development into the probe by the Royal Barbados Police Force’s Fraud Squad into official complaints by at least two auto finance companies, Nassco Limited and Globe Finance. The police department had also been asked to investigate reports related to loans for vehicles that did not exist.

   Meantime, there are indications that vehicle owners could find it tougher to get insurance.

   That’s because the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) will meet shortly to determine whether its member companies need to tighten their insurance procedures, following concerns that insurance coverage had been given to non-existent vehicles based solely on paperwork presented by customers.

“We are still not privy to all the facts regarding this situation or from what angle we have to approach it differently,” Chairman of the GIAB’s Public Relations Committee, Anton Lovell, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.

   However, he warned vehicle owners, that general insurers were being “very vigilant now.”

   “[But] we are still waiting for the stats to come in. What actually occurred . . . that is still not known to the body. The body is going to meet very, very soon; everybody will come together, all the companies will come together and get a brief on what occurred, so that then we would have to look and see if we need to tighten our approach regarding insuring of vehicles,” added the GIAB spokesman.

   More than 100 vehicles have so far been seized from Executive Rentals.

win a honda

ALSO If you sign up for Barbados Today before independence you could WIN a 2014 Honda City! Go here for full details

]]> 0
DRY CROP Tue, 23 Sep 2014 04:47:53 +0000 Delays in accessing funds promised by Government and extended drought conditions and fires this year could result in a major decline in sugar production in 2015.

Managing director of Sunbury and Hampton Plantations in St Philip and Colleton Plantation in St John, Richard Armstrong, made this dire prediction during an interview with Barbados TODAY.

Under an arrangement with Government, through the Barbados Agricultural Management Company Ltd (BAMC), sugar farmers expected to receive $110 to $120 per tonne of cane reaped this year.

However, Armstrong said that they have so far only received half of what they need to carry out the planting of the canes, purchase fertilizers and debush the cane fields, even though the planting season is well on its way.

“This year, we were paid $60 per tonne of cane with the understanding that we would be paid the additional $60 at the end of the crop. This would have allowed us to pay for herbicides, fertilizers, pay wages and do whatever is necessary to prepare for the 2015 crop, but so far it has not been disbursed,” he lamented.

“It is more than necessary that we receive this extra $60. Some of us, on the promise that we would have received this money, have gone on and carried out the planting. In the past, the plantations used to take the risk and finance the planting of the canes with the hope that they would receive the money spent. However, with the price of sugar dropping on the world market it has become difficult to pay for the services up front.”

Armstrong urged the authorities to take action urgently to ensure the sugar industry can reap the necessary benefits.

“In agriculture, you need to do what you have to do when you have to do it. You cannot leave the spraying of bush in your fields for two weeks if the rain is falling. When you come to do it, either it would not be done properly or you would be wasting your money. If you do not apply your fertilizer at a specific time it does not make any sense applying it because the plant will not benefit from what you have done. People have to realize that in agriculture funding needs to be done on time,” the plantation owner added.

Armstrong also expressed concern that Barbadians have failed to appreciate the vital role of the sugar industry.

He suggested that unless there was a change in the mindset, the industry would not be given the respect and support it deserves.

The planter said not only is the industry economically beneficial, but it has environmental benefits that people have not acknowledged.

“People are short-sighted when it comes to the sugar industry, in terms of what the island gains from it. I have heard many people on the call-in programmes complaining about the number of caterpillars, butterflies and worms that are destroying their cabbage and plants in general. It is nothing more than the simple fact that so little cane is being planted that the island is overrun with bush,” Armstrong contended.

“In the past, when Barbados was like a garden with every piece of available land being properly farmed, you never had these problems. You only have to take a drive through
St John and St George and you would see once well-cultivated arable land being overrun with bush.”

win a honda

ALSO If you sign up for Barbados Today before independence you could WIN a 2014 Honda City! Go here for full details

]]> 3
On-side Tue, 23 Sep 2014 04:42:08 +0000 President of the Barbados Football Association Randy Harris is on record calling for passion and commitment from his BFA officers in advancing the cause of Barbados’ football.

And new BFA general secretary Joyce Stewart appears to be on that page.

New BFA general secretary Joyce Stewart at her office today.

New BFA general secretary Joyce Stewart at her office today.

In her first interview with the media since being appointed the BFA’s first female general secretary and following the controversy over her non-possession of a work permit to be employed in Barbados, Stewart told Barbados TODAY that each morning she woke up she could not wait to get to the BFA office. Stressing her commitment to Barbados’ football, the former Canadian banker and football administrator said she had put the controversy over her work status behind her and was focused on assisting the BFA further develop football on the island.

Stewart, a former senior manager with a branch of Canadian Imperial Bank with a portfolio of 38,000 accounts and almost US$50 million in deposits, explained it was a desire to serve the community that led her to be involved in football.

“I began as a convenor and later became president of my local club. Eventually, I was the first woman to be elected first vice-president of the Ontario Football Association. Because of my moorings at the community level I had a  clear understanding of what was happening at various levels of the game. I understood the problems faced by coaches, players and administrators and the difficulties parents were encountering with their children in the junior leagues. I devised strategies that eliminated these problems,” the mother of two and grandmother of one said.

A strong believer in human rights, Stewart was the prime mover behind a campaign to stamp out racism in football during her tenure as first vice-president of the Ontario Football Association.

The regular visitor to Barbados for the past 25 years stated: “I could be on the Minister of Tourism’s list for long stay visitors. In the last few years, I have been visiting Barbados three times a year.”

Before her appointment with the BFA, Stewart said she had been considering living in Barbados six months a year.

Stewart was vacationing in the island last year when she saw the advertisement for the post of BFA general secretary. She said she thought the position was similar to the voluntary posts she held in Canada and applied for the job. She was on a short list of persons interviewed and was appointed to the position.

However, after her role with the BFA was brought to the attention of the Immigration Department, she was informed that she needed a work permit to function in the post and subsequently acquired it on May 28. Since then Stewart has gone about her job with fervour.

Stuart admitted her knowledge of the game was very limited but stressed as an administrator that was not important.

“My role as general secretary is to manage the office of the BFA effectively and to help devise strategies that will improve football on the island,” she said.

Stewart added that training was vital for all the key players who were involved in the game.

“We know that sports make children do much better with their studies. It gives them that discipline that serves them for life. It is my intention to seek out scholarships for our young footballers both male and female. Everyone is aware of the opportunities that are available to footballers in the various international leagues. I hope during my tenure as general secretary we can get places for our young footballers at colleges,” Stewart said.

She pointed out that more training for coaches and referees was needed to make them aware of what was taking place in the game and how to deal with or stop problems from developing during games.

“Coaches should have a keen insight into the behavioral patterns of their players and should be able to spot if they are getting out of hand on the field and bring them off before they become involved in a confrontation with another player. It is my intention to hold training sessions for coaches that will make them aware of these things,” Stewart said.

Another of her suggestions is that the BFA work more closely with the Royal Barbados Police Force to pinpoint feuding districts which might have teams playing in competitions organised by the BFA.

“If we can identify these areas, the relevant security measures can be instituted to stop any infractions from taking place,” she explained.

Gang-related violence has occasionally reared its ugly head at football games in the island.

Stewart said she was eagerly looking forward to the opening of the BFA facility at Wildey, St Michael and hoped that it would play a major role in the development of football on the island.

She praised the staff in the BFA office highly.

“I am still learning the nuances of Barbados and I rely heavily on the staff in the office to help me,” Stuart said.

Stuart noted the members of the BFA staff were using the opportunities available to them to improve their skills. She said one staff member recently had an attachment at FIFA, and she hoped that more of them would be given such opportunities.

Her work permit is for two years and Stewart said she was thankful for the opportunity to serve the game she adores in the country she loves.

]]> 1