NOW (and women in general), where are you on the Banks Girl issue?

 

Where, if I may be so bold as to ask, does the NOW (National Organization of Women) and women in general, stand with regards to the whole Banks Girl issue? Are those not scantily clad women in the background partaking of the whole, sordid (and tasty) cholocate affair as well?

Are these group of women not contributing to the whole chocolate covered moral decay of society as we know it? Where are the letters-to-the-editor, or the e-mails to sites like Barbados Free Press and Bajan Underground? Women, where are you?

Why are you not up in arms over this or do you think that behaviour like this is now the norm and should be accepted? Do activities and pictures, like the one above, not show you women in a poor light and as mere sexual objects?

I think it does, but what do I know?

Call me old fashioned and old school, but I for one would not be willing to be involved in a relationship with any woman that allows herself to take part in those kind of activities. Unless ofcourse it’s in private, in my house, with only myself present and if she’s was willing and happy to do it. Bring on the chocolate, by all means.

But not in public, not like that. That’s wrong at some basic level. Somewhere. But like I said, I’m old fashioned and old school and I don’t know any better. Is this what we want the young women of Barbados to see and to follow?

Look, I’m hungry, I need some chocolate.

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Filed under Barbados, Life, Men, Women

Blast from the past: BCCI and Barbados

Anyone remember BCCI? (Bank of Credit and Commerce International). According to Wikipedia, the bank became the focus (in 1991) of the world’s worst financial scandal. It was discovered that the bank was involved in (among other things) money laundering, bribery, support of terrorism, arms trafficking and the sale of nuclear technologies.

So why bother digging up old news? I’ll tell you why, while reading ‘A Game As Old As Empire,’ in particular a section titled: ‘BCCI’S Double Game: Banking on America, Banking on Jihad,’ by Lucy Komisar, I came across this little interesting tidbit of information:

“…A decade later, as I began to focus on investigating the secret offshore banking system, I learned that, in a reach for market share that American business analysts might marvel at, BCCI had become the central banker for everyone involved in regional black ops, running accounts for the arms and drug traffickers, the mujahadeen, the Pakistanis, and the CIA.

The CIA money passed from the U.S. to the al-Taqwa Bank in Nassau to Barbados to Karachi to BCCI in Islamabad. Al-Taqwa – the name means “fear of God” – was not a real bank with bricks and mortar, depositors,  and services. It wa a shell bank set up to finance the jihad and in fact was simply a correspondent accont in the Banca del Gottardo, the former Swiss subsidiary of the corrupt Banco Ambrosiano (“the Vatican bank”), which collapsed in 1982 after looting customers’ accounts of more than $1 billion. (That story famously inspired a subplot of The Godfather Part III.) BCCI also handled money from the drug trade and payoffs to Pakistani military and officials.

The BCCI operation gave Osama bin Laden an education in offshore black finance that he would put to use when he organized the jihad against America. And the CIA was well aware of its student’s capabilities…”

Read the book, if you can. It’s an eye-opener.

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Filed under Barbados, Business, Politics

Say it ain’t so, Chefette, say it ain’t so

Saw this in my inbox the other day and read about it on Barbados Underground:

Yes, I know it’s long and yes, you’ve probably read it already. But the message I received in my inbox differs slightly from the one that BU posted. Have I stopped eating at Chefette? No, I have not and will not either. Why? Because as much as it does disgust and upset me, we seldom catch a glimpse of what really happens behind the closed doors of a fast food joint, or any other food joint for that matter.

The moment you let someone else take responsibility for the preparation of your food, you take a huge leap of faith. What happened at Chefette (if it did indeed happen) has happened elsewhere and will continue to happen. Something will always slip through, sooner or later. Tough luck for you if it’s in your meal. If you don’t like it, suck salt. Next time, don’t eat out and learn how to prepare all of your meals by yourself.

Mind you, these food establishments should do all that they can to ensure that nothing like this happens in the first place. Proper checks and balances should be implemented, even if it means an increase in the cost of the meal. Pass the cost on to the customer (businesses do this all the time). I for one would much rather Chefette, or any other food joint, charge me more for my meal, so long as I know that they have a serious quality control team in place that is keeping an eye on things, or an eye open for ‘things.’

Now let’s say that things went down they way went as per the e-mail below. Management of Chefette could’ve handled things differently. At the end of the day, whoever has read this e-mail may or may not think twice about eating at Chefette in the future. Even if they dismiss the incident below as pure rubbish, I for one will remember it for quite some time. Doesn’t matter where you eat, always keep your eyes open.

Finally folks, try to refrain from sending out these e-mails from your company e-mail account. Get a personal e-mail account for that sort of stuff. The forward below (and the comments before the Dear Reader bit) appear to have originated from a large business based in Warrens.

Here’s the forward that I receieved:

P.S.: Mr. Haloute, if you or anyone else at Chefette is reading this, I really like your Wing Dings. Also, I wish you’d bring back the BBQ Ribs that you used to do years ago!
>
>
>
>
>
>

>Subject: FW: Chefette Warrens Branch Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee Readdddddddddddddddd ,

>Dear all,I had heard about this incident before receiving the email – and it only happed yesterday!
>This was poorly handled and I am sure this is not the last we will hear of it.  
>A lesson for all in the food business and in the absolutely crucial realm of customer service.
>Do have a read when you get a chance.
RegardsSubject: Fwd: FW: Chefette Warrens Branch Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee
>Readdddddddddddddddd ,
>Hi Everyone,

>Just wanted to let you know that the contents of the
>below email are true. I actually work with the young
>lady that this happened too. I should also let you
>know that Mr Haloute was directly notified of the
>incident and needless to say his response was less
>than satisfactory. Please pass this on to all of the
>people you know that have come to rely on Chefette for
>many of their meals. Lord only knows how many near
>misses they may have had with a half bitten bug in
>their food. I recently learned of a woman who found a
>millipede in her roti. Their idea of compensation was
>another roti! That ended in a rather hushed law suit.
>We should no longer sit back and accept substandard
>food, service or treatment. We work too hard for our
>money and deserve better when we decide to spend it in
>various food establishments.
>
>
>
> Dear Reader,
>  
> I would like to inform you of an incident that
> occurred Monday, July 16,
>
> 2007 at the Chefette Warrens branch. One of my
> colleagues at work (who
> is
> by the way pregnant) had just purchased one order of
> macaroni pie, a
> macaroni salad and a small mauby and subsequently
> brought it back to her
>
> workstation to eat. However, on opening the
> container with the macaroni
> pie
> and taking her fork and rummaging through it, as is
> her custom with
> anything she eats (Thank God!), she was horrified to
> find a worm in her
> food and had to stifle the urge to vomit.
>  
> Now you can imagine how upset she was and we too
> were very concerned, as
> a
> group of us had also just purchased lunch from the
> same branch. One
> other
> colleague was so traumatized that she immediately
> threw her pie into the
>
> garbage, not even wanting to risk opening the
> container.
>  
> In support of our pregnant colleague, three of us
> accompanied her back
> to
> Chefette to return the food as she was also feeling
> a bit queasy/weak
> and
> is also by nature a very soft spoken and shy
> individual but we told her
> that it was unacceptable to do nothing regarding the
> food, as who knew
> how
> many persons had ordered food which contained these
> worms or even worse,
>
> particularly those ordering from the same batch of
> pie.
>  
> On arriving at the branch we immediately went up to
> the Barbeque Barn
> section and asked to speak with the Manager on duty,
> a Mr. Orlando
> Harris.
> When he came to us we told him about the worm and
> then showed him and
> expressed how shocked we were and to his credit, he
> at least apologized.
>  
> However, the problem came when we asked Mr. Harris
> how our colleague was
> to
> be reimbursed. Mr. Harris proceeded to tell us that
> he was willing to
> replace the pie with an item of the same value (i.e.
> a mere $6.00) from
> the
> menu but our colleague informed him that she does
> not normally eat the
> other things. We then asked if she could not be
> given a gift certificate
> to
> which he replied that he was not authorized to give
> these out.
>  
> Following this we asked him to return the pie as he
> had taken it up from
>
> the counter to look at the worm. He blatantly
> refused to do this asking
> why
> we would want it back. We told him that it was
> rightfully still our
> colleague’s pie and if she wanted she could have it
> back. He told us
> again
> that he was not returning it to us (in essence
> stealing the pie) and
> promptly gave it to one of his staff to take into
> the back as quickly as
>
> possible.
>  
> He went on to tell our colleague that she could
> return to Chefette at
> her
> convenience to redeem this offer of replacing a
> $6.00 macaroni pie with
> some other $6.00 alternative, and that he or his
> staff would be willing
> to
> fulfill this order but that he could give us no
> written confirmation or
> assurance of this, even though it would supposedly
> be entered into a
> database. This seemed quite ludicrous to us as he
> had not even taken our
>
> colleague’s name and only did so at my indication
> that he had not. On
> asking for the name of his manager, he responded by
> saying that he was
> the
> manager. I asked again this time asking if he was
> the manager for the
> entire Warrens branch to which he said yes even
> though he was only the
> manager on duty. I then took his name and he
> insisted on having mine for
>
> what reason I do not know and as such did not give
> him.
>  
> We also found it quite strange that he had only
> suggested this option of
>
> having a $6.00 replacement and did not even offer to
> refund our
> colleague’s
> money as she had in fact returned her order (with
> the exception of the
> drink) and not just the macaroni pie or give her the
> option of ordering
> something else on the menu, regardless of the price
> due to the nature of
>
> her complaint. This was not a matter of just saying
> that the food did
> not
> taste good or was not warm etc., there was a worm in
> her food for
> goodness
> sake!
>  
> We had to tell him that the best thing would be to
> return her money, as
> there was no satisfaction to be had by a $6.00
> replacement! So at the
> end
> of it we have to say that we do not think that the
> manner in which Mr.
> Orlando Harris responded to this particular incident
> was acceptable. I
> too,
> am a Manager and there are times when managers have
> to act and make
> effective decisions based on the issue at hand. Even
> if he did not know
> how
> to handle the particular situation he should have
> made an effort to at
> least consult with the other Manager on duty (who we
> only later found
> out
> was there after calling the head office to report
> the incident) or call
> one
> of his superiors, although he would have us believe
> he had none.
>  
> In a time when our country is striving towards
> service excellence and
> with
> all the NISE initiatives prevalent; this is a sad
> situation for a
> leading
> fast food restaurant to be in. Already 12 of us from
> my company have
> agreed
> not to be customers of the Warrens branch anymore
> and although one might
>
> say that this means nothing it actually does.
> Customer service is of
> prime
> importance and greater businesses have been toppled
> as a result of poor
> customer service. Moreover, a food establishment
> should also be very
> concerned about health and food safety and we do not
> believe that this
> was
> a one-off incident with regards to this branch, as
> we’ve heard other
> horrifying reports having returned to our office.
>  
> To the owners of Chefette and managers all around we
> want you to
> remember
> that happy customers might tell one or two people
> about a good
> experience
> but dissatisfied customers are usually the ones to
> tell the world!
>  
>  
> Regards,
>
> I am truly horrified to see that this has happened
> to your work
> colleague. Since Mr. Harris was not so NISE, I am
> giving you the names
> of people in the top of Chefette. Mr. Assad Haloute,
> Mr. Pelai Haloute
> and Ryan Haloute. Assad & Pelai are owners but I am
> not sure if they are
> involved in the day to day runnings of the company.
> Ryan on the other
> hand is a director (i forget which one tho). Please
> be sure to let me
> know what the outcome is when you speak to them. i
> am just sorry you did
> not take a picture of it to send to the nation
> because i would have
> gladly taken directly to the chief editor at the
> Nation for you. I
> personally have stopped patronizing them because I
> find that the service
> down right sucks and the ladies are rude to the
> utmost.
> I went to buy a meal some time back and i watched
> them make a milkshake
> and then wipe the aggetator off with the same wetex
> they wipe the
> counters off with. I have never bought another
> milkshake again. THen a
> friend, she had one and opened the cup to share it
> between her sons and
> as she poured out came a cockroach.
> I think we should circulate your email to as many
> people as we possibly
> can and show them that we the customers can be not
> to NISE to them. Also
> this should be sent to the Ministry of Health as I
> strongly believe that
> they do not do enough inspections of restaurants in
> Barbados.
>
>
>
> —— End of Forwarded Message
>
>
>

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Chefette at the GAIA

For the folks out there who weren’t aware, Chefette is our version of McDonald’s. That said, Chefette recently announced the opening of its 14th location, situated at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).

I’m interested in two things: First, the breakfast menu. I know it’s an airport and I realize that flights are coming and going all the time (or most of the time), hence the need for a breakfast menu. But how about a breakfast menu at one of the other locations? Secondly, the TV ad for the airport location mentioned that the airport prices were the same as every other location. Hmm…Does this mean that Chefette has increased the prices at all of their branches, ergo, prices at the airport outlet would then obviously be the same as everywhere else, or were there no price increases at all?

I’m just wondering because setting up and running an outlet at the GAIA is not cheap, especially after the millions that were spent upgrading the airport.

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ABC + 123 = 0

UPDATED: Okay, I finished the post. Better late than never

I’ve heard it myself over the years and I’ve also repeated it to visitors: Barbados boasts one of the highest rates of literacy (or should that read one of the highest literacy rates?) in the world. Is this still the case, can our island still afford to make this claim? I find myself thinking about this after reading ‘Exam markdown,’ an article in the June 15th edition of The Nation newspaper.

(begin snip) 

“THOSE WHO WROTE this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Exam performed “slightly below” last year’s students. With decreases in the national average in English and maths, Minister of Education Anthony Wood at a Press conference yesterday expressed concern about the overall performances in the mathematics paper, in spite of improvements in Section 3, and again with Section B – the comprehension passages of the English paper. He noted that a number of strategies had been employed in the classroom to address the problem areas in both subjects.”

(end snip)

There is no arguing that English and Mathematics are important subjects. In fact, they create a critical foundation required for further study in other areas. However, simply churning out the human equivalent of word processors and calculators is not good enough.

I never had any reason to think about our educational system, until one day a few years back. I was sitting in a class and the lecturer went on a slight detour and mentioned something about the fact that our system was only interested in producing ‘professionals.’ In other words, not people who are interested in starting and running their own businesses

The whole idea of entrepreneurship appears to be largely ignored in Barbados. Although there is an organization that was setup to encourage entrepreneurship (the name of which I cannot recall), this was only a recent development. Risk probably plays a big factor as well. Barbadians appear to be afraid of taking chances. We avoid risk instead of embracing and dealing with it. We seem content and even thankful to have ‘just enough.’

This attitude and culture obviously has its disadvantages. Forget about the whole Black/White business ownership issue. Instead, focus on the foreign ownership of businesses in Barbados. A perfect example of this is the takeover of BS&T by the Trinidad & Tobago giant, Neal & Massy.

I know that Barbados can ill-afford to be an island from a financial and investment point of view. Isolated and detached is not the way forward in today’s global economy. Outside investment has its advantages and Barbados is an ideal country for this because of its economic and political stability. Furthermore, as we move towards the CSME (Caribbean Single Market and Economy), we as Barbadians must become comfortable with these changes or else, we’ll be left by the roadside. 

So, what can we do to change this? I’m no expert, but I think we should at least start teaching and encouraging our children to take more risks, especially when it comes to the business world. If we don’t, our children will live out their lives as consumers. Also, the profits that foreign owned companies earn from us will leave our shores and return to their home countries. Never to be seen, or heard from again.

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True or False?

Anyone heard about this? It showed up in my e-mail earlier today and I’m not sure if this really happened. (I removed the sender’s name which appeared at the bottom of the e-mail):

“A disturbing thing happened last Saturday morning to some young people I know that I want to share with you. Hopefully you will pass the word around and this sort of thing won’t happen to anyone  else.

The 5 young people were traveling by car very early Saturday morning (2:30 a.m.) going home – heading west. They got diverted  off the highway, and ended up on Belle Plantation road. In that  lonely bit of the road, where there is nothing but huge fields on either side, a car began to overtake them and rammed them in the side, causing them to skid off the road. They stopped, as they  thought it was an “accident”, but in fact thieves jumped out of the car with masks on and held them at gunpoint. Mercifully, none of the youngsters were hurt, just emotionally shaken up. The thieves took cash, cameras, cell phones, and Ipods.The police are investigating.This incident could have turned out much worse than it did. Please make sure anyone you know who travels at night knows their routes and stays on well-lit, well-traveled roads. I am not aware of any way to find out what roads are closed due to construction,  but if any of you know about that, please pass it around.

Stay safe, and God Bless.”

I don’t recall reading about this in the daily print media and BFP/BU, nor have I seen it on the news (I rarely watch Channel 8, a.k.a Channel 108, to the MCTV subscribers.) Then I thought, hey, if this incident really happened, I’m not suprised that the MSM (main stream media) brushed it under the rug (surprising that BFP and BU didn’t cover it though, that is, if it happened.) After all, I only heard about the big accident that happened a week or two ago which involved a bus and resulted in several injured people, somewhere in St. Joseph (or was it St. John?) My recollection of the facts surrounding this particular accident are sketchy because the MSM didn’t have much to say about it.Instead, the first I heard about it was when the folks at the office mentioned it (a day or two after it happened, I think.) The second time was when the media went down to the Q.E.H on the evening/night of the accident (if I’m not mistaken) and instead, became the story themselves after being roughed up by members of the Royal Barbados Police Force.

So, why all the top secret stuff? Maybe the ‘powers that be’ are afraid that all of this negative press/attention will give Barbados a bad name. As it is, we depend so heavily on tourism. It’s our bread and butter and the last thing we’d want to do is to scare away the tourists and their dollars!

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Filed under Barbados, Life, MSM, Politics

An Inconvenient Truth now showing(?) in Barbados

I wasn’t even aware. No mention of it (unless I missed it) in the print media. Nothing major on BFP or BU. I think. I found out while watching the CBC Evening News tonight. Something that I don’t do often. Not because CBC’s coverage of the news is exciting or extremely informative or sensational or anything like that, because frankly, it isn’t. It’s because there is no good local progamming on CBC. Or is there?

Anyhow, during tonight’s broadcast, CBC reported that The Inconvenient Truth was playing at Olympus Theatres. They even showed a short clip of a bunch of adults in the theatre. Adults. No kids, unless (again) I missed something. The film, to me, looked as if it was playing in the VIP section of the theatre. I say that because of the seats. Those were definitely not the regular cheap seats!

Which makes me wonder about one or two things:

1. We live on a small island (a rock basically) in the Caribbean. We are not that high above sea leavel (anyone remember what Carib Beach used to look like, is it better now?), are extremely vulnerable to climate change and depend heavily on tourism. That being the case, why not give everyone (i.e., the masses) a chance to see the movie?

2. I speak under correction, but I think the report mentioned that the Ministry of Energy and the Environment (can’t seem to find their website) may have been involved in the showing of the movie. If that was the case, good move. However, the Ministry should either foot the bill for the public to see the film (and we Barbadians love freeness) or at least heavily subsidize it so that the majority of people can see it and learn a thing or two about climate change. Failing that, Olympus Theatres should allow the general public to view it, if they haven’t done so already.

3. Like I said earlier, when CBC aired the clip, I couldn’t remember seeing any children in the audience. Why is this? Of all the people that we owe a good, healthy, clean environment to, it is to the children. When we’re dead and gone, those kids will be adults and they will have to suffer as a direct result of our mistakes with regards to the environment. Show the film to the kids now, while they’re still young. Who knows, as they get older, maybe one or two of them will come up with a great idea or two that can change the world or at least, help Barbados.

4. I wonder what Prime Minister Bimbro would do with regards to the whole environmental issue? Just kidding Bimbro. 😉

Hmph. I just can’t remember if (and when) Olympus Theatres showed it to the general public. Guess I’ll have to ask around.

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Filed under Barbados, Environment, Life, Politics

M.I.A: The Bystander? NOT!

On June 1st, 2007 at 3:07 pm, passin thru commented:

Where are you Bystander?

——————- 

Hello passin thru,

I am here. I haven’t gone anywhere. Unfortunately, the last few weeks have been a bit busy what with final exams (long completed), as well as one or two (recently completed) special projects at work.

And on June 4th, 2007 at 8:55 pm , T. Huntington commented:

Been a while since you posted Bystander .. I guess BFP shouldn’t have linked to you.
**Yawn***

Just so you know .. I thought it was so adorable when you got all upset because BFP wouldn’t link to you.

——————-

Hi T. Huntington,

Strange. You remember how I reacted when BFP didn’t link my blog, but you’ve forgotten that when they did, I told them that I was not worthy, especially under the circumstances back then (hint: it involved another popular blog and some slugs.) I’ve also spent some time posting at BFP and I don’t ever recall seeing you engage me in the comments, so why should you even care if I update my blog? Thanks for dropping by though.

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TAKEOVER of Barbados Shipping & Trading by Trinidad giant, Neal & Massy

UPDATED: Replaced the words SOLD OUT with TAKEOVER 

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just imagining things or just crying wolf, but I think The Nation newspaper got it wrong when they printed “BS&T  Mega Deal” across their front page today.

“Barbados Shipping & Trading (BS&T), the country’s biggest conglomerate, is planning to merge with energy and industrial giant Neal & Massy of Trinidad & Tobago.” 

The article covers the planned merger between BS&T and Neal & Massy. Folks, this is not a merger. This is just spin. Why spin it? Simple, it keeps us Barbadians (at least those of us who accept things at face value and refuse to question anything) happy. Why not call a spade, a spade? Because it is upsetting, at least, I think it is.  The headline and the first paragraph even make it sound as if BS&T is the one instigating the merger.

Barbadians are a proud people (sometimes a little to proud) and for us to be told that our island is being bought and sold left, right and centre (which it is, but no one seems to care or notice) would cause much social discontent and possibly upheaval. In case you’re wondering, we are also a passive people as well. You want land? Sure, come on down! We got plenty o’ land! You’re not from here, even better! We love foreigners! We’ll even bend a few rules so that you can buy it, then, you can build your huge mega-million-dollar mansions!

But back to the takeover of BS&T by Neal & Massy. Does the name Sir Alan Fields ring a bell? Not only is Sir Alan Fields the chairman of BS&T, he’s also a senator in a senate that is largely hand-picked by the current Government in power, the BLP. Call me a pessimist, but I cannot help but think that Sir Alan will do what is best for his business, before he does what is best for his country. Sames goes for the BLP. Forget the people, let’s focus on our bank balances instead. BS&T was .

“Sir Allan made it clear the proposal, which was yet to be approved by the Securities Commission of Barbados and the Trinidad & Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission, was a “friendly merger” of “unequals” but “BS&T was not for sale”.

Really, Sir Alan, who are you trying to fool? A “friendly merger” of “unequals?” Hah! This is David vs. Goliath, the only difference is that this time, David, or in this case BS&T, gets knocked for six! I’m not an MBA or a business student, but why would “unequals” merge? Especially when BS&T is smaller than Neal & Massy. Smells like a TAKEOVER to me, Sir Alan.

Thankfully, someone at The Nation newspaper published a few brief facts about both companies (NOTE: 1 USD is unofficially taken as 2 BDS in Barbados):

  • BS&T profits after taxation in 2007 – BDS$26.85 million, up 20.5% from 2006
  • Current assets for BS&T stood at BDS$387.05 million
  • BS&T  holds 3% of Neal & Massy’s total shares
  •  Neal & Massy profits after taxation in 2007 – BDS$57. 39 million, up from BDS$42.87 million in 2006
  • Current assets for Neal & Massy stood at BDS$636.50 million
  • Neal & Massy holds 23% of BS&T’s total shares

If this is not a TAKEOVER of BS&T by Neal & Massy, then I don’t know what is.

“Its 23 subsidiaries and 11 associated companies are all indications that BS&T has transformed the commercial environment, economic life and business culture of Barbados.”  

Yes, all of them now in the hands of Neal & Massy. With this sale, BS&T will once again change the Barbadian socioeconomic landscape.  What a sad, sad day. An anonymous individual pointed out to me that Neal & Massy already had a significant stake in BS&T. This same person also overheard a senior member of staff at a subsidiary of Neal & Massy say that it was obvious that this was being called a merger and not a takeover. Who knows what would happen (if anything at all) if the Barbadian public knew the truth?

Oh well, another Barbadian enterprise, (maybe not the greatest, but Barbadian at least) is sold off. Just like the Barbados National Bank. Sold to the Trinidadians who, if I remember correctly, turned the bank around and made it profitable, something I think (correct me if I’m wrong) our Barbadian Government couldn’t get done.

The Nation newspaper says the new “merged” entity will be called Neal & Massy, BS&T Group Limited. You can bet that at this rate, the day will come when Barbados will be under the complete control of Trinidad & Tobago. Then our name will change to Trinidad, Tobago & Barbados (TT&B).

Then again, maybe this really is just a merger and I’m being paranoid? Time will tell.

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Nurses in Barbados

“UNDER SIEGE.” This is the headline that The Nation newspaper splashed across their back page in today’s print edition (don’t bother checking their website, the story isn’t there.) It desribes the disgusting situation that currently exists for nurses in Barbados. Nurses, folks, nurses. The people that look after us, our familes, our relatives and our friends, when we fall ill and have to visit clinics and hospitals.

God (or The Great Pumkin) only knows that their jobs aren’t tough enough as is (in Barbados and all around the world) and that their pay and working conditions are less than what they’re really worth. I hear you: “Some of the nurses are not nice and kind and gentle.” I hear you. There may be a few miserable ones out there, after all, they are only human, but the majority of them must be good, else we would’ve probably have gotten rid of the whole lot of ’em by now, don’t you think?

So, now we know what a valuable service the provide to us and the hell they have to go through on a daily basis, why is it then that this sort of thing happens in Barbados (and possibly elsewhere?)

From The Nation newspaper (because they didn’t bother to post this story online.)

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UNDER SIEGE

Nurses being attacked on and off duty, says BNA head

by DONNA SEALY

 NURSES are being attacked physically and verbally on and off the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s (QEH) compound, and they are sick of it.

President of the Barbados Nurses’ Association (BNA), Paulette Drakes, told the media yesterday after a service at St Thomas Parish Church to start Nurses’ Week, that they were being confronted on and off duty. She appealed for greater protection for the health care providers.

She said they were being attacked while on the wards by patients and relatives, at bus stops and in car parks, especially after reports that they recieved salary increases.

“Nurses get beaten, they get their cars broken into. Nurses get their bags snatched right on the compound too. I had a nurse who was held at gunpoint [and] a patient brought a dog on the ward for a nurse. “I have nurses who have been standing at that bus stop [outside the New Testatment Church on River Road] and when the others were gone [boarded buses], one nurse was left there and her bags and everything were taken at gun- and-knife-point. “I need safety for my nurses and that is just one side, physical safety,” Drakes said.

Fist fights

She and other nurses spoke of incidents where patients hit nurses on the head with objects, and of patients and relatives “picking” fist fights.

“We certainly need to have everybody that comes through those doors photographed or something [so] that when you start to describe [the incident/perpetrator], they can roll back the photos and say, ah ha, that’s the one. “Safety is of primary importance where we are concerned.”

Provide transport

Drakes also called for a proper transportation service for nurses, especially for those who worked late shifts and had to go to distant parishes like St Andrew and St Lucy.

“The nurses association already had a transport system where we asked the hospital to provide transport for nurses and they do that. “They go down to pick up those nurses coming from ‘Town and they take down the ones [who] come off the ward at 9 p.m. But what about those [who] come off at half past ten or 11 or 12…? I feel that those nurses should be taken home,” she said.

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Digusting. That’s how we treat our nurses. Disgusting.

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Random thoughts

Soon. My days are numbered, slowly dwindling. Like the last remaining grains of sand falling through the hourglass that is time. It is my last semester at BCC and final exams are just around the corner. Soon. UWI. Now it feels as if I haven’t posted an entry in ages, but my responsibilities in the off-line world are currently far more greater than here, on the web. 

This brings up an interesting thought or two, how can busy bloggers blog consistently? I have a friend from up north who has (was) been blogging off an on for a while now (almost a  year, I think.) She slowed down a bit a while ago. Off-line life was hectic and competed fiercely for whatever spare time she had. As a result, her blog suffered miserably and has probably died a slow, miserable, lonesome death by now.

CWC is over and the resulting spin by the BLP Government is full on. The good folks over at Barbados Free Press are on the ball as always. Closely monitoring the spin doctors and revealing the truth behind the lies for the whole world to see. I close my eyes and I see a caped crusader. The words ‘BFP’ emblazoned across the chest of a superhero-type costume. Standing atop a tall buildling, throwing caution to the wind. The citizens in the streets looking up in awe and admiration. Go get ’em, BFP!

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Thoughts on cricket, the W.I. team and Brian Lara

I am not a cricket fan. There. I said it and now the whole world knows it. Maybe that’s a good thing right now. Maybe an impartial observer, or better yet, a bystander like me, can take a look in from the outside and offer one or two thoughts on the game, the W.I. team and Lara. 

Over the last few days (weeks maybe?) I couldn’t help but get a little caught up in the game, after all, it’s taking place in my backyard. Of course, my attention was only switched ‘on’ whenever any of the games involved the West Indies. Figures, huh? I can hear you now: “The Bystander is a ‘fair weather’ friend: When all is rosy, The Bystander is your best friend, pals for life even!” No, that’s not true. Even when the West Indies are (or were) winning, I was never a keen follower of the team, nor the sport. Heck, I barely know the names of the players.

However today was different. During the course of the day, I listened to the radio, I checked the latest scores online and I was a little happy, no, I was excited to learn that the W.I. had scored 300 runs (forgive me, for I am not well versed in the language of the game.) I can’t remember the last time the W.I. had ever managed to achieve that amount, or something even close to it. Excellent, I thought, the team has finally remembered how to play the game and what a game it was today! I sat at home later on in the evening, glued to the television, watching the last remaining moments of an amazing match.

Remember, I am not a cricket lover, so for me to sit in front of the telly watching the game, it must be worth watching! And today I couldn’t help but watch and hope the hope that the W.I. would defeat England at the famous Oval. But in the end, it simply was not meant to be. My heart sank a little and I felt sad as a result of their loss at the hands of England, who in the end, had barely won by 1 run and 1 wicket (again, forgive me if my cricket terms are a bit off.)

But something else happened today. For on this day, the W.I. team fought valiantly (in my humble opinion.) Knowing fully well that they weren’t going to make it any further, those boys went out there like warriors and fought the good fight. It is a strange feeling, being proud of a team I know little about. Strange that I’ve never been to the Oval, the old or the new.

As for Lara, what can a non-cricket fan say? I used to think that although he was without a doubt, one of the best and most talented the game had ever seen, that he was not made of ‘captain material.’ Whenever I read about him (especially the Hollywood-like celebrity life he enjoyed) he never struck me as an indvidiual who could lead the W.I. team to victory or even consistently decent play. Strange then how I felt bad for Lara when I read that he got knocked out of the game so early and how the West Indies, his team, lost in the end today. I felt bad for Lara. Sportsmen like him, like to go out with a bang when it’s their last game. Lara may not have been able to do that today, but the team sure went out swinging and fighting. I can only hope that he is proud of them today and that they are all proud of each other.

Well done, West Indies (and Lara) well done.

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Why ‘green,’ not black, white nor polka-dot-pink, should matter when serving customers

Originally found via this BFP post. It seems that the folks over at the Living in Barbados blog are wondering why it is that in some establishments in Barbados, white customers receive far better treatment than their fellow black customers. 

Many of the BFP readers (I really like those BFP readers) offered up several reasons, and also mentioned by name, several Barbadian companies where examples of this double standard take place. Below are a few of the comments (the rest are here.)

Sapidillo
April 17th, 2007 at 5:16 pm

In a restaurant, employees seem to feel that it is more likely that they will receive a tip and a “decent” tip from a white person, moreso than receiving from their own/black person. There have been times I wish I were wearing a hat that I can take it off and tip.

As far as departmental stores, such as Cave Shepard, the employee feels that s/he can charm the blouse/shirt off a white person and a sale is produced; but when it comes to a black person, that individual may have them go back and forth, and in the end leave without buying anything. These same employees act as though whenever they walk into a store, they purchase something; steupse. Ignorance at its peak.

Some of these employees got the attitude that when a customer asks for/requests service, there should be some form of gratitude at the end of the transaction — sale or tip. [But then again, not all customers utter the words, “thanks,” which is also a form of gratitude.]

Bjans seem to have an inferiority complex especially if thier customer is a black person from overseas. Don’t expect change anytime soon.”

John
April 17th, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Only last night I heard Pizza Man Doc on the news saying there is every likelihood that he will have to close two of his eight outlets because the attitudes of some of his employees is “running the customers”!!

I tried to get the link to the story on CBC but for some reason that site was giving trouble. Go on the cbc.bb site and search for pizza.

The exact same problem, it was how his staff treated “black” customers.

I don’t think this is any legacy of slavery. There were shopkeepers in a district who did perfectly well and treated people, old and young, black and white like people.

They even extended credit.

The problem is comparatively recent. There was a time when we had risen to a level where manners were shown to each other as a matter of course.

We are in a downward spiral. We are worse off than before!!”

I am no longer surprised when I hear my fellow Barbadians talk/behave like that, but it does sadden me. To think that in this day and age, we treat our ‘own’ people in such a terrible way. I remember a friend telling me that back in the days of slavery, you had different types of slave. There was the ‘house slave’ and the ‘field slave.’ If I remember correctly, he actually used the word ‘n****r’ half jokingly, instead of ‘slave.’ The ‘house slave’ was higher up the social ladder and therefore, more ‘elite’ than the lowly ‘field slave.’ Mind you, both of them were still slaves. Lo and behold, I found this comment:

“Marcus2
April 17th, 2007 at 3:13 pm

That is the legacy of slavery. Remember the house negro and the field negro, In the field, the horse back negro and the planting negro?”

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times: Barbadians are like crabs in a bucket. Each scrambling atop the other and at the same time, trying to pull the other down, all in an attempt to make it to the top. Sad but true.

But let us get back to the title of my post. I say the colour green should matter. Not black, white, nor polka-dot-pink. And not green as in little green men from Mars either. Green as in the colour of money. Even though our currency isn’t green, you get the idea.

To the businessman (or woman) that is reading this, may I humbly suggest the following: Make sure that your business remembers that the customer is always right, even when they are wrong. The customer is doing you a favour (unless you are a monopoly) by giving you their money (the green) in return for your product or service.

You do not have to suck up to us , nor kneel before us (although it would be greatly appreciated every now and then) but you should at least be polite and professional. You are a producer, you produce goods and services. We are consumers, we consume them and you make money as a result. So be nice. I don’t know about the rest of the people living and working in Barbados, but I work damn hard for my money. So if you value it and if you want it, then respect me as the customer, because it is mine to spend as and where I see fit.

Another reason why some businesses get away with this is because although many of us could easily choose to spend our money elsewhere, we are simply to lazy to bother. As a result, some of us are willing to tolerate the bad attitudes and disrespect.

It’s funny. We are such a small, tiny island. Only 166 square miles. And yet some of us couldn’t be bothered with hopping on a bus, or driving around to find an alternative. We are a paradise, it’s true. A paradise for businesses who make their living off of us, our laziness and our indifferent attitude when it comes to dealing with poor customer service and finding alternatives.

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Feeling under the weather

Hello. I have been under the weather for the last few days and as a result, there have been no new posts. Rest assured, plans are afoot to correct this situation immediately, or at least, very soon. In the meantime, if you’re a Barbadian, go and enjoy the cricket while it lasts, because at the end of the day, your tax dollars paid for it. If you are not a Barbadian, but you are here in Barbados, enjoy the cricket anyway, because your tax dollars didn’t pay for it.

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‘Slavery and Economy in Barbados,’ by Dr. Karl Hudson

While mousing around the web for information on a future post, I came across a paper on the History section of the Beeb, entitled ‘Slavery and Economy in Barbados,’ by Dr. Karl Watson.

I never knew that:

1. Barbados was England’s first experimental tropical agricultural export colony.

2. Barbados was, back then, thought to be the ‘richest spote of ground in the worlde.’

3. Initially, whites from Britain were brought in as indentured servants or prisoners. (I have some recollection of this from History class back in the day.)

4. After the Somerset uprising, many West Country men were exiled or ‘barbadosed’ by one Judge Jeffreys.

5. That nearly 700 Irish were transported to the island during the Cromwellian period.

6. That Barbados became the springboard for English colonisation in the Americas.

7. And played a leading role in the settlement of Jamaica (didn’t know that) and the Carolinas (had read about that somewhere.)

8. That due to the cost of white labour going up, planters, acting on the advice of the Dutch and Sephardic (Sep-who?) merchants turned to West Africa for their source of manpower.

9. That between 1627 and 1807, 387,000 Africans were shipped to Barbados against their will.

10. That after emancipation in 1834, an organised effort was made to socialise slaves to European patterns, an effort lead by the Anglican Church.

11. That from the beginning of the 18th century, Barbados, unlike other Caribbean countries, had an excess of women over men in both racial groups.

12. That Barbados was the only colony to support the abolition of the slave trade.

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