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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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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Filed under Chefette, Food, Life, Safety

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.


Filed under Barbados, Business, Chefette, Food, Life

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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Filed under Barbados, Business, Education, Life, Politics

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!


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.


Filed under Barbados, Environment, Life, Politics