Heads Up

Thursday, December 16, 2010

REDjet ready to fly

"THE Caribbean’s newest airline hit the ground for the first time on Thursday.

But it’s not up and running just yet.

REDjet, expected to bring low-fare seats to the rest of the Caribbean, touched down at the Grantley Adams International Airport for the first time Thursday afternoon.

The airline will be operate out of Barbados.

A number of Barbadians were interviewed for jobs with the company earlier in September.

The first MD82 aircraft received a warm welcome as two tenders of the Barbados Fire Service’s Airport Division also came on the tarmac and gave it a showery blessing just after touchdown via a water-cannon salute, as is customary when airlines come to Barbados for the first time.

On arrival, the company’s two top executives, chief executive officer Ian Burns and his son Robbie, held a special function with photographers aboard the aircraft taking pictures of the maiden flight into Grantley Adams.

The two then posed in the cockpit with a Barbados flag to commemorate their first arrival.

No REDjet agents are in place at Grantley Adams just yet, but the airline is expected to start taking on passengers from as early as January next year.


REDjet was founded in 2006 when CEO Burns, working in the region at the time, was amazed by the cost of flights within the region and on routes to the United States and Latin America.

There was a huge disparity in the market, as Caribbean carriers were losing substantial sums year after year while the American carriers flying into the region were reporting the Caribbean to be their most profitable market.

Working with his son Robbie, who is the company’s business development manager, the father and son team built REDjet in conjunction with investors to develop the first Caribbean Low Fares Airline and bring the substantial economic and social benefits of low-cost travel.

REDjet is a privately owned airline with a mixture of international and local backers who share a common vision of lower fares to make travel affordable for everyone in the Caribbean.

Over the past two months, the 42 members of the all-Barbadian cabin crew have completed intense operational, medical emergency, ground school and aircraft safety training on the MD-82 aircraft, just like the one which arrived Thursday.

The preparations were conducted locally and at the world-renowned PanAm International Flight Academy in Florida, United States. The final phase of training will take place once the company’s first aircraft arrives in Barbados.

“We took a holistic approach to our MD-82 training and included a member of the Barbados Civil Aviation Department who trained alongside our crew, thus ensuring there was a local expert on the aircraft in Barbados,” Burns noted upon the plane’s arrival.

“To date we have invested over BDS$1 million in the flight training so our team will be ready to welcome passengers once we have received final permissions from the regulators to commence operations.”"

Source: NationNews.com

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Lessons In Sustainability For The Barbados Brand

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Government Of Barbados Distances Itself From The Merricks

If you blinked last week you probably missed it - "it" being the ground-breaking exercises for the "destination that is different” in Merricks, St. Philip, Barbados.  Both leading papers carried front page articles covering  the event, but curiously neither of them mentioned any members of the current government of Barbados in attendance.  Ok, I suppose the Prime Minister gets a pass because he is ailing and we all have him our prayers, but where was his deputy, or the Minister of Tourism, or even the Parliamentary Representative for the constituency?  This is certainly a "different" ground-breaking for Barbados for a project that's supposedly worth nearly a billion dollars in construction.

A few months ago they hauled the Prime Minister off his sickbed to turn the sod at Pickerings, St. Lucy on a project where we later learned that the principals probably have no money let alone own the land upon which it is to be built.  Perhaps it's the flak off Pickerings that has made Government gun-shy on Merricks.  Whatever it is or was, it speaks reams about the level of trust and confidence the Government of Barbados has in the project at Merricks when reportedly the highest public official in attendance at its ground-breaking was the Minister of Tourism - not of Barbados - but of St. Vincent And The Grenadines.

This blogger who has followed the vicissitudes of The Merricks over the years became so concerned about this obvious "different" turn of events that I raised it as a question with two senior civil servants, one with over 40 years experience who boasted that it was the civil servants who build Barbados - not the politicians.  To my surprise both of them pleaded ignorance of The Merricks - they didn't know what it was or anything about its existence.  To be fair, neither of them were in tourism, but I find it inexcusable that a Permanent Secretary in the Government of Barbados would have no knowledge of the saga of The Merricks and Harlequin Properties in Barbados or the rest of the Caribbean regardless of his/her portfolio.  This Permanent Secretary also went on to boast of (as a general rule) not reading either of the two main daily papers, so that should tell us all something about him, if not about the state of governance in this country.

Lack of government trust and confidence notwithstanding, Harlequin did "finally" break ground on The Merricks Resort last week and is already proudly proclaiming it to the rest of the world on its website.  They even include links to the articles in the Advocate and the Nation even though the latter made the absence of the Government of Barbados pretty obvious.  We know also that they (Harlequin) recently had a "soft opening" (re: unfinished and trouble-ridden) on their St. Vincent property, Buccament Bay Resort, and are widely promoting (re: collecting deposits on) other unstarted/unfinished resorts in St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and probably other locations.  Many people (apparently now including the Government of Barbados) have been looking for what many have termed a house of cards to come tumbling down, but so far it has defied the odds.    
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Lesson for those who would Dubaify Barbados

"Dubai's central belief, summed up frequently as 'build it and they will come', has served it well in the past, however the policy crashed badly in the financial crisis leaving a landscape of half-finished skyscrapers...

A glut of vacant office space is continuing to spiral, despite the economic crisis, thanks to the forests of new tower blocks started by developers as the boom reached it peak in 2007, researchers said.

With some "holes in the ground" awaiting further development already being filled in, further radical solutions to the problem are needed, said the authors, researching for the property firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

"The best prospect for reducing vacancies lies with initiatives to limit future supply and encourage the withdrawal of existing buildings from stock through conversion to non-office buildings or even demolition," the report concludes..."

Read more: Dubai may have to knock down buildings constructed during boom - Telegraph

See also: Mullins Bay Blog: "This Is Monaco: Is This What We Want For Barbados?"

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Is Singapore Airlines Coming To Barbados?

"Singapore has concluded open skies agreements (OSAs) with Barbados, Brazil, Jamaica and Rwanda, at the International Civil Aviation Organization Air Services Negotiation Conference 2010 (ICAN 2010), held recently in Jamaica.

ICAN 2010 offers a central meeting place for air services officials from various countries to meet and conduct bilateral air services negotiations. The OSAs with Barbados and Jamaica are the first between Singapore and the Caribbean community. The Singapore-Brazil OSA comes on the back of the Singapore-Peru OSA, which was concluded in 2009 together with the establishment of Air Services Agreements with Colombia and Ecuador. The OSA with Rwanda is Singapore’s second with an African country, after the Singapore-Zambia OSA that was concluded in 2008.

Without restrictions on capacity, frequency or routing, OSAs allow carriers the full flexibility to introduce services when market opportunities arise. Carriers are also able to tap on traffic from and to third countries to improve the commercial viability of their operations. Direct air links with Singapore will allow businesses in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbeans to access more markets by tapping on Singapore’s excellent connectivity to the Asia Pacific region. This will reinforce the growing people and trade flows between these regions and the Asia Pacific. The establishment of liberal air services frameworks between Singapore and more countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbeans pave the way for such benefits.

There are currently no direct flight connections between Singapore and Latin America or the Caribbeans. In Africa, Singapore Airlines operates passenger services to Egypt and South Africa, while Singapore Airlines Cargo operates cargo services to Kenya and South Africa.

Apart from sealing OSAs with the four countries at ICAN 2010, Singapore and Fiji also concluded an open skies framework for cargo services and expanded traffic rights entitlements for passenger operations between and beyond both countries.  Yap Ong Heng, Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore welcomed the recent developments, saying, “airlines operate in a challenging environment with dynamic markets. It is thus critical for countries to proactively put in place air services frameworks that enable airlines the commercial freedom to respond to market opportunities.""
 Source:  mb.com.ph
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Speightstown Out - St. Lucy In

Prime Minister David Thompson in St. Lucy last week

A frail-looking Prime Minister David Thompson gave the clearest hint yet that government is leaning toward St. Lucy over Speightstown, St. Peter for the planned second cruise port for Barbados. This comes just over a year after Tourism Minister Richard Sealy's statement indicating that Speightstown had the nod. Yesterday the Barbados Advocate reported:
"While stating that the [Pickerings New Town] project has the potential of increasing market opportunities for St. Lucy he [the Prime Minister] said that he was “convinced” that MP for St. Lucy Denis Kellman may get a “long overdue airport and cruise terminal”.
He stated that Government has had offers from people to establish private airport facilities for private jet aircraft and a cruise terminal could be beneficial since a lot of activities take place in the north..."
Some might say that again politics seems to be trumping common sense on the location of the cruise port, as indeed, some have been criticizing the whole Pickerings/New Town project which is to be built on some of the best agricultural land in St. Lucy (much of it already owned by government). In a land-scarce country the question must be asked - what kind of example government is setting vis-a-vis reviving agriculture? It has not gone unnoticed that one of the principals of the company behind Pickerings/New Town is a high ranking member of the governing party and a former parliamentarian for St. Lucy himself. This clue to how things get done in Barbados may also be instructive on how the decision will come down at the other end of the island on the Long Beach/Chancery Lane wetlands project where yet another governing party politician has designs.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

After 4 Years Of Selling Thin Air Merricks Gets The Big Green Light

"The much awaited $400 million resort development project planned for Merricks St. Philip has received approval from the Town and Country Planning Office.

Word has come in the local press that developers of 70 acre development received planning permission on May 19th, 2010 and now it appears that all systems are ago for the project.

Although a small number of investors have demanded refunds due to the lengthy delay in receiving planning permission for the property.

The tourist complex includes three five-star hotel blocks, eight apartment blocks, 18 “plantation” houses, 42 one-bedroom cabanas, a 500-seat conference room, restaurants, shops and a spa village..." 

Click here for more =>> Barbados TravelAdvisor • View topic - Merricks Resort Gets Government Nod

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pierhead battle brewing

"Government may face court action over its handling of the award of a contract for construction of the multi-million dollar Pierhead Marina Development Project.

An American law firm representing Irish company Lagan Construction Limited has written the board of the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII) citing an alleged breach of an “agreement” it said was reached between its client and the BTII last November for the said contract and is now threatening to “move swiftly to protect its rights”.

Barbados TODAY has learnt that the BTII and by extension Government were given until last Wednesday to respond to a three-page letter from Washington D.C. law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP on behalf of its client Lagan, otherwise they would seek legal recourse.

This was after a November 13, 2009 decision by the BTII’s four member Project and Tenders Committee headed by then chairman Dr. Jerry Thorne to award the Pierhead contract to Lagan was overturned and the decision communicated directly to Lagan International Director, Richard Jones.

That letter sent from Barbadian law firm Inn Chambers last November 27 on behalf of the BTII and copied to BTTI CEO Stuart Layne and Thorne, charged that Thorne had “acted ultra vires” (beyond his powers) and that “the entirety of the contents of the said correspondence in no way represents the position of the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc”. The chairman tendered his resignation three days later and it was accepted.

But the controversy does not start or end there..."

Follow this link for more - Pierhead battle brewing
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

AirOne Apparently Not Dead ... Yet

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — AIRONE Ventures Limited (AVL), a start-up airline, which three years ago sought a home in Jamaica, is likely to begin operations in Barbados later this year.

AVL, which has a Barbados address, is advertising for several positions including line training captains, captains, first officers, cabin crew, human resources and facilities manager, among others.

The advertisements for flight crews said candidates should have an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) licence with current type rating on MD 80 aircraft.

With a "launching low fares" tagline, AVL said it would be positioning as the first Caribbean low-cost carrier.

Airone Holdings Limited has named the Irish-based communications firm Digicel as its marketing and sales partner.

No information was immediately available about AVL's routes but the company had previously said it would operate flights between the Caribbean and the United States.

The airline had initially planned to operate two Boeing 737-300 aircraft, which it said it would lease for between US$200,000 and US$400,000 per month and gradually expand to five within two years.

AVL had sought national carrier status in Jamaica and signalled its intention to set up in Barbados once its application to the Jamaican authorities was denied.

The airline had argued that with its base in Jamaica, it would have generated more than 200 new skilled jobs in the first year of operation, contribute two per cent to gross domestic product and a minimum of US$65 million in taxes to the government.

Source: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Airone-likely-to-commence-operations-this-year_7626912

See also: West Coast Blog: AirOne Still Standing By For Takeoff
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taking St. Vincent For A Ride

"Update on the Buccament Bay UK Launch Party – April 24th & 25th
We are delighted to tell you we now have full details on the opening of the most exciting new resort in the Caribbean.

The Rt Hon Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent & The Grenadines, will be present on both days to talk about this wonderful island and the Government’s support for our stunning new resort. Also present will be several Government Ministers and Caribbean High Commissioners for St Vincent & The Grenadines, Barbados, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic, the islands where Harlequin will be opening their other resorts during the next few years.
Harlequin’s Ambassador

Andy Townsend, ex-Chelsea and Republic of Ireland player, will be compering the weekend and will provide an update on the Harlequin Sports Academy.

Ex-Liverpool footballer, David Fairclough, and other Liverpool personnel will also be on hand to talk about the Liverpool Football Club Soccer Schools, the first of which will be opening at Buccament Bay Resort in July.

Pat Cash will be talking about the Pat Cash Tennis Academies, the first of which will be opening at Buccament Bay Resort in July, as well as the new Pat Cash Tennis Hotels that Harlequin are planning to build at the Buccament Bay Resort, Las Canas and The Marquis Estate.

Harlequin Performing Arts Academy. We are proud to announce that stars from the West End and Broadway will be performing in a new music and dance extravaganza, Bringing the Best of Broadway to the Caribbean, on each day at 4pm. This is a show not to be missed! Performers will include Michael McCarthy, West End and Broadway star, famous for his performances of Javert in Les Miserables and Paul Morrissey, who has recently finished performing in Phantom of the Opera in the West End..."

Click here for more.
Click here to follow The Merricks Saga in Barbados

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ocean Pew

The interior of Barbados's Nidhe Israel synagogue.

"Consider the irony: A foreign visitor celebrates his bar mitzvah on Shabbat Shekalim in a synagogue that was itself saved from the wrecking ball by a massive round of shekel-collecting; a synagogue, moreover, that is perched on an island at the easternmost edge of the Caribbean (no desert, but no Jerusalem, either) where the mere act of enumerating the Jewish population—800 Sephardim in 1750, 40 Ashkenazim in 2010, no Jews at all in 1930—reminds us of just how convoluted the history of our wandering people can be..."

Click here for entire Tablet Magazine article.

See also:  Speightstown’s Jewish Past
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Yet Another Reason To Ditch The Barbados Tourism Authority

 There is growing dissatisfaction with the way in which tourism in Barbados is being run.  Other Caribbean destinations are already eating our lunch as our marketing efforts continue to fall short, and failure to address forthrightly some the glaring problems in the sector such as a lack of affordable hotels and beach erosion.  It has not helped also that a promised "Tourism Master Plan" is still more than two years in the making.  Join the discussion on our forum by clicking on the link below.

Barbados TravelAdvisor • View topic - Yet Another Reason To Ditch The Barbados Tourism Authority

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pierhead Project Back From The Dead - In News Again

"FOUR MEMBERS of the board have parted company with the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTII).
Reports reaching THE NATION yesterday were that chairman Jerry Thorne, deputy chairman Mark Prescott, and members Paul Bernstein and Decourcey Headley have left the BTII. All of them have been on the board since 2008.

New appointments

It is understood that new appointments were made last month, and chartered accountant Andrew Marryshow was installed as the new chairman while businessman Chris deCaires is his deputy.
Several telephone calls to Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Darcy Boyce, and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy for confirmation about this situation were not immediately returned. THE NATION was informed that both were attending meetings.

When contacted, Thorne, an orthopaedic surgeon, declined to comment, but deCaires confirmed that he was now on the BTII's board.
Reports indicated that the separation follows a disagreement over the $130 million Pierhead Development Project, which was switched from the Ministry of Tourism to the BTII in 2009.
That project, which has been in the works since 1988, includes plans for a marina, hotel, three blocks of condominiums, a retail and restaurant complex and a high-rise car park, as well as other services.
It was to transform the Pierhead and Lower Bay Street into a sophisticated shopping, entertainment and upscale accommodation area, and represent a partnership between Government, the private sector and foreign investors, with Government and the Barbados Shipping and Trading conglomerate as major landowners.
Last October, when asked about the project, chief executive officer of the BTII, Stuart Layne, said it was before Cabinet and he could not speak on the matter.
It is understood that a significant sum of money had already been spent by the former administration to conduct a study into the feasibility of this much-mooted project."

Source: http://www.nationnews.com/news/local/LEADbtii-resignations-FRONT-PAGE-LEAD
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Merricks :: "Recession 2010: When hotspots turn cold"

Palmetto Bay, Barbados (proposed site for The Merricks Resort)

"Some investors who bought off-plan units at The Merricks, Las Canas and other schemes believe that their money may have been used to complete Buccament Bay, in which they have no stake.

Harlequin instructs agents to make it clear to potential investors that revenues are used to market and develop all the resorts in the Caribbean. Harlequin says it is treating investors seeking refunds on uncompleted properties in The Merricks and Las Canas "sympathetically" but that often involves re-negotiating terms.

One woman was offered the chance to swap her unbuilt villas at Merricks for similar properties at Buccament Bay but she declined because she thought they were of lesser value. Others have been offered "discounts" of 10 per cent on their unstarted properties at Merricks..."

...continue reading - click link below:

Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | Property :: Recession 2010: When hotspots turn cold

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Update On Barbados Tourism Mystery Plan

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Anyone Can Surf Barbados

"It was the kind of scene you'd expect to see on the north shore of Oahu or the Gold Coast of Australia: three surfers bobbing in the water as a 15ft swell rolled in. One of the surfers paddled into it, snapped to his feet and suddenly he was riding it – millions of gallons of the ocean's energy barrelling him forward. He turned, speeding left, flipping right, then crouched down and held the sides of his board, launching himself five feet off the crest. He flew, spinning into the air, dro

Only this wasn't Pipe, Indo or any other famous moniker the world's nomadic surfing community bestows on its favourite pilgrimage spots. This clean, perfect, enormous wave was rolling in to a little-known surf destination – the east coast of Barbados. And the only audience that these three surfers – professionals from Hawaii and Florida in town to shoot a documentary for Billabong – had was an empty, palm tree-lined beach..."

Read more: http://www.scotsman.com/features/Travel-Barbados.5989060.jp
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Go Underwater With A Point and Shoot

"This shoot was taken while Danny was snorkeling in Barbados with some very friendly turtles. He ditched his snorkel and went down to between 3 and 6 feet below the surface. This picture was taken at F4 at 1/250th of a second.

Colors fade the deeper you go underwater, disappearing in light spectrum order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). Most underwater photos will have some amount of blue or gray tint. To get rid of the haze, you usually have to tinker with the white balance and saturat

On trips like this one, Danny and his fiancé want to keep post-production to a minimum to save time, so they use Picasa to organize and edit photos: "Because we were traveling, we didn't want to fuss around with photo adjustments such as white balance and contrast like we normally would. We also wanted to share pictures easily with our families...""

Click here for more on our forum.
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