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Friday, November 11, 2011

Where in the world is Matt Lauer?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Barbados Road Safety Awareness Badge

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Merricks Finally Matriculates

"Harlequin Hotels & Resorts and Harlequin Developments have commenced construction of the initial phase of The Merricks Resort — the $900 million luxury resort in St. Philip that will cover 70.4 acres. Speaking during his visit to the island this week, Chairman Mr. Dave Ames said: “We are very excited to have started work on this initial phase of The Merricks Resort Show Village, the $10 million precursor to our multi-million dollar resort investment in St. Philip. “This first stage of the project will provide a great boost to the country’s economy, creating work and employment for many local businesses and hundreds of people in St. Philip and Barbados.” Construction of The Merricks Resort Show Village was originally planned for completion at the beginning of January 2012, but has now been pushed back because the developers are still awaiting approval from the Government for investment concessions. Harlequin also recently acquired the former Allamanda Hotel on the South Coast. That property will be re-opened in 2012 as the “H Barbados”, the first in Harlequin’s newly created luxury boutique hotel collection. The company has moved quickly and has already completed the initial strip out of the existing building. The construction and refurbishment is now ready to commence on what will transform the former 47-room hotel into a 77-room property. Earlier reports had indicated this was a smaller project but with the benefit of existing planning permission, the Harlequin group is committed to increasing their investment in this project to an estimated $36 million, almost doubling the size of the original property. Speaking from Harlequin’s office at Hythe House in Maxwell, Christ Church, Garrett Ronan, Vice President of Hotel and Resort Development, stated: “Since receiving final planning permission in May for The Merricks Resort Show Village we have progressed things very quickly. “However, we are currently waiting for approval of concessions for both The Merricks Resort Show Village and separately under the TDA for our new boutique hotel, H Barbados. “The Government has worked very closely with us for the past few months and had promised to ensure an efficient approval process. We have provided all requested information to date but, unfortunately, the planned completion dates for both projects have already started to slip due to continued delays with the approvals.” He added: “This is proving to be very disappointing for our investors and the many local contractors and businesses that are now in a holding pattern awaiting these official approvals. Following a meeting last week with senior Government officials we are hopeful that approvals can be granted this week. This will allow us to continue quickly with construction at both locations.” The Merricks Resort Show Village will comprise a landscaped formal entrance leading to a two bedroom and a four bedroom Harlequin signature villa, spectacular cliff top boardwalk with public access designed by Kevin Talma of Talma Mills Studio, a showcase gazebo, a lagoon pool and a services building with car parking. All villas are designed with an expansive outdoor deck providing amazing panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and will feature a private plunge pool and spacious en suite bedrooms centred on an 800 square foot open plan “Caribbean style” living room. Development Director for Harlequin Developments, David Campion, described the villa designs as “a contemporary interpretation of local Barbados architectural style that takes an environmentally responsible approach in delivering an upscale luxury experience”. “To achieve this we are using the latest in environmental and construction technology with a strong focus on energy and water conservation,” he added."

Source: http://m.barbadostoday.bb/bbt/db_258712/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=65gpm1E8&storycount=49&detailindex=0&pn=1&ps=10&full=true#display
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

REDjet rising - Globe-trotting - The Boston Globe

 "First it was $9.99 for a one-way ticket from Barbados to Guyana; then Barbados to Trinidad. Now the Caribbean's first low-cost carrier REDJet is reportedly breaking open a Latin American route that will take St. Lucians or Bajans cheaply and directly to Panama CIty to go shopping.

What might that mean for America? For one, with Panama City's fabled bargains a cheap flight away, Caribbean residents would no longer look to Miami for those weekend shopping sprees. For another, the Caribbean and lower Americas could become viable for the kind of multiple destination jaunts that former inter-island air passes promised but didn't deliver. (For example, a Caribbean Airlines flight from Barbados to Kingston, Jamaica can cost as much as $420.)

The REDjet promise is that "Your final payment amount depends entirely on you." Plan ahead, choose off-peak days, and book at their airport ticket desk, and the airline guarantees a one-way flight will cost $9.99 plus taxes.

Will Caribbean islanders finally be freed from over-pricing? Stay tuned.

Now, if only I could get to Barbados this Christmas for under $650 ..."

Source: REDjet rising - Globe-trotting - The Boston Globe

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

REDjet to capture Crop Over market

"Last minute T&T travellers can now catch the last week of Barbados Crop Over Festival, as REDjet the Barbados-based, low cost carrier’s inaugural flight out of T&T is set for July 28. The popular Barbados festival, which began on May 14, will culminate with Barbadian R&B star Rihanna’s LOUD concert on August 5. REDjet will be offering passengers 3,700 seats at $65 one way fares, exclusive of government taxes and optional charges. This was officially announced yesterday by the management team of REDjet at the Carlton Savannah Hotel, St Ann’s. After several months of delay over its certification approval, REDjet was finally given the green light to operate out of T&T on July 17 by the new Transport Minister Devant Maharaj. REDjet had planned to start flying from T&T and Jamaica since May 8..."

Read more: REDjet to capture Crop Over market | The Trinidad Guardian

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Friday, July 8, 2011

UK Air Passenger Duty Hits Travel From North America and to Caribbean

"Cheapflights Media Ltd, the international media network providing consumers with different ways to find low cost travel since 1996, has been a consistent critic of the UK's regressive Air Passenger Duty (APD) -- now the highest such aviation travel tax in the world.
Cheapflights has just analysed traffic search patterns for the first six months (H1) of 2009, 2010 and 2011 for searches for Barbados, Jamaica and Mexico and other long-haul destinations. It also analysed its North American traffic searching for London flights for the same periods to indicate how APD may have affected inbound tourism. The figures have to be viewed in the context of the post-recession recovery in global passenger numbers over the period, especially in 2010 when a post-recession "bounce" occurred and passenger traffic increased by an above trend of 8.2% (IATA).
H12010 over 20092011 over 2009
New Zealand7.5%*-2.0%
Inbound Searches for the UK
CFUSA to UK4.9%-9.4%
CFCA to UK4.6%-34.3%
* Host nations to major sporting events in H1 2010
The Government has just completed a consultation period in response to representations by Caribbean governments, the Caribbean Tourist Organisation and also by UK aviation and travel companies about the negative effects the high level of taxation is having.
Introduced in 1994 and raised in 2007 it remained at a sustainable level until November 2009; APD was then changed to a much higher four mileage-band based tax for economy seats and an even higher four-band tax for premium seat passengers including premium economy. It was raised even higher in November 2010, costing a family of four travelling economy to the Caribbean APD of £300.
Following the 2010 increase, APD had risen a massive 275% above pre-2007 rates for all cabin classes to the Caribbean. Apart from affecting tourism-dependent economies, such as the Caribbean in general, the mileage bands also created unfair anomalies; for example APD is more expensive when flying to Jamaica than to Hawaii.
John Barrington-Carver, Head of Cheapflights Corporate Communications, commented: "Clearly, with a respective 51.3% and 25% drop in traffic since the higher rate four band APD was brought in, Barbados and Jamaica have good reason to expect the UK Government to remove the current anomalies in APD.
"A significant concern for the UK economy is the evident drop in searches for the UK from North America and elsewhere over the period. With the strong Australian and Canadian dollars one could have expected an increase in searches for the UK. Instead we have a 5% drop from Australia and a very significant 34% drop seen in Canadian searches for London.
"Domestically, the UK's airport operators are claiming that, according to Civil Aviation Authority statistics, passenger numbers at Britain's smaller airports have fallen by up to 70% in the past four years.
"Cheapflights' analysis appears to bear out the reasons why five other European Governments have dropped APD as revenue raising exercises. Having tried the duty they discovered that such taxes cost the economy more than they raised in revenue.
"High jet fuel prices have clearly increased fares but have not prevented the 2010 post-recession global bounce in air passengers.
"It's therefore difficult to avoid the conclusion that APD is deterring UK consumers from seeking fares to the Caribbean and other long haul destinations. Importantly for the UK economy the opposite is also evident, especially from North America.""
Source: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/uk-air-passenger-duty-hits-travel-from-north-america-and-to-caribbean-1534881.htm

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Recession? Miami-Dade Tourism Soars

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pierhead Project Turns Into Expensive Little Marina

"Construction of marina in bridgetown to begin in about nine months
Years of delay and controversy are about to culminate with the construction of an upscale $202 million marina in Bridgetown, work on which is expected to start early next year. But by the time Barbados has finished paying for the super yacht facility in 25 years, the tax payers would have spent $505 million in a Build Operate Lease and Transfer deal with a St. Lucia company.
However, Minister of Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler asserted today that the benefits would be significant, including $132 million from the reclamation of lands and sale of 80 berths alone.  Sinckler announced plans for the project, to be located in the area of the Pierhead/Bay Street/Carlisle Bay section of the City, via a ministerial statement delivered in the House of Assembly this morning on the resumption of sittings.  He said following completion of a tendering process, Government agency the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. had signed a memorandum of understanding with St. Lucia's SMI Infrastructure Solutions Inc. for the venture to take place.
"The project, which has been under consideration for several administrations, and for many years, will see the construction of a super yacht marina consisting of approximately 80 berths...," he said.  "The memorandum of understanding was signed with SMI Infrastructure Solutions Inc. for a Build, Own, Lease and Transfer financing arrangement. "With the marina expected to cost $202 million, Sinckler said Government would have to make annual payments of $20.2 million at an interest rate of 8.8 per cent and that "lease payments will reduce overtime in accordance with the quantum and timing of cost recovery".
Barbados' overall payments between next year and 2037 will be $505 million, including interest of $303 million, but the St. Michael North West MP suggested the benefits would outweigh the costs.
"Cost recovery is estimated at US $66 million for the reclamation of lands and the sale of berths. This transformational tourism infrastructural project will assist in repositioning the Barbados tourism product offering, while being the catalyst for the regeneration of the Bridgetown area," he said.  "The tourism product offering will also move towards the upper end of the tourism market by attracting more high net worth individuals, who can be expected to own berths at the super yacht marina. They will also purchase condominiums on the 10 acres of prime real estate that will be created through the reclaimed lands, which are the by-product of the building of the marina."  Additionally, the minister said development of the marina "will result in enhancement of the beach in the immediate vicinity of Carlisle Bay, which will be targeted by the coastal tourism master plan for future development".
"Other economic benefits include the injection of foreign exchange into Barbados, the creation of hundreds of jobs during the construction and permanent jobs after construction, repositioning of Barbados' tourism product and the marina acting as a catalyst for major new investment along the Bay Street corridor," he noted.
"Construction is expected to commence in about nine months and prior to the commencement of construction stakeholder meetings will be held."
Construction of a marina in Bridgetown has been in the offing for well over a decade, with a previous administration originally seeking to partner with local conglomerate Barbados Shipping & Trading, a major landowner in the area.  In recent times the current administration's handling of the venture has been criticised repeatedly by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, who claimed the projected cost had risen to more than $626 million and it was facing legal difficulties."

Source: Barbados Today

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Whale Watching Off Barbados

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nightmare 12-Hour Flight From BGI To JFK

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/09/caitlin-gorry-american-airlines_n_833349.html
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Urbanisation vs. The Countryside: Barbados Becomes a City State

"An SOS has gone out to Government to withstand pressure from developers and save the Scotland District from the rapid urban sprawl sweeping across Barbados.

However, president of the Barbados National Trust and historian Dr. Karl Watson believes that the urbanisation of Barbados as it moves towards becoming a city state is “unstoppable”.

“The Scotland District is the last frontier that the real estate barons of this island are going to target, and not only are they going to target it, but they are going to actively develop it,” he warned.

He has reservations about Government’s ability to prevent this kind of development.

“I think that even with the best will in the world and with the imposition of controls and with the full authority that Town and Country Planning has, I think that the economic aspect of development and the economic drivers of development are so gargantuan, so all-consuming, overpowering, that they are going to break down any hurdle that we put in their way to act as a brake on this runaway development.”

The noted historian and archaeologist was delivering a lecture entitled Urbanisation vs. The Countryside: Barbados Becomes a City State at the LB Harcourt Lewis Training Room, Barbados

Public Workers Credit Union Headquarters, on Monday night. It was part of the 13th anniversary celebrations of the Urban Development Commission.

Watson said the National Trust eagerly awaited the day when the formal Cabinet decision to legally establish the National Park of Barbados would become reality.

“... We need some guarantee that at some point in time in the next 15 or 20 years there will be some green spaces left in this island that we can go out and enjoy. It has to be done,” he said.

With the assistance of maps and photographs spanning three centuries, he illustrated how “urbanisation from the east and urbanisation from the west are meeting”.
The decline in acreage for sugar production from nearly 52 000 acres in 1966 to 17 000 in 2005 was cited as an indication of how agriculture had progressively given way
to housing development.

“From North Point to South Point we are busy cementing over every available square inch that we can,” Watson observed. “We have to say enough is enough. Let us slow this process.”

“Ultimately it moves out of the hands of Government and has to come back to us the people,” he added.

“We have to decide as a people, do we collectively reduce our expectations so that we don’t continue to ruin the environment of this island [or] do we restrain our zeal for consumption?”"

Source: NationNews.com

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Friday, January 21, 2011

The World Is In A Coma: More lessons for those who would Dubaify Barbados

Proposed island to be located north of Bridgetown Port
"The islands were intended as the ultimate luxury possession, even for Dubai.  But the World, the ambitiously-constructed archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of the globe, is sinking back into the sea, according to evidence cited before a property tribunal.

The islands were intended to be developed with tailor-made hotel complexes and luxury villas, and sold to millionaires. They are off the coast of Dubai and accessible by yacht or motor boat.
Now their sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up, the British lawyer for a company bringing a case against the state-run developer, Nakheel, has told judges.
"The islands are gradually falling back into the sea," Richard Wilmot-Smith QC, for Penguin Marine, said. The evidence showed "erosion and deterioration of The World islands", he added.
With all but one of the islands still uninhabited – Greenland – and that one a showpiece owned by the ruler of Dubai, most of the development plans have been brought to a crashing halt by the financial crisis..."
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

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