The Observations of a Simple Bajan

July 26, 2010

Revelation by Esso chief

Filed under: Business,Daily,General — simplebajan @ 6:54 am

Last week, Cally Boyea had a revelation and discussed with gas station attendants at a workshop on security. He said that criminals who robbed gas stations were after….wait for it…. CASH. Huh, I though that with the high price of petrol, they would be more interested in a couple gallons of gas and a few quarts of oil.

Come on Cally!!!

May 24, 2010

Banks continue to rake in fees

Filed under: Business,General — simplebajan @ 3:48 pm

Sometime ago, the then Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Doctor Marion Williams, questioned the high fees that were being charged by commercial banks to their clients and seemed to indicate that the matter would be investigated. Surprise, surprise that it is being reported that for the fiscal 2008, the six commercial bank (Barbados National Bank, Butterfield Bank, FirstCaribbean International Bank, RBTT Bank, Royal Bank of Canada RBC and ScotiaBank) collected BDS $91.4 million which represents an increase of 18% over the previous year.

For years now, Barbadians have been complaining about the high fees that are somehow forgotten during initial meetings, but then miraculously appear just before deals are finalised. Given the length of time and the amount of information that must be produced during some of these banking transactions, it is presumable that most clients just shrug their shoulders and agree to pay, as terminating the deal only means another length process and possibly the same of higher fees at the end.

ScotiaBank reported $25.9m, Barbados National Bank $23.6m, FCIB $22.5m, RBTT $5.8m, RBC $8.7m and ButterField Bank $4.9m.

So while banks may have lured us with great offers on loans, mortgages and credit cards, they are certainly making up for it in fees.

September 9, 2009

What a load…

Filed under: General — simplebajan @ 7:44 am

LIME has finally decided to withdraw termination letters that were sent to staff on July 30th after a long meeting held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, but listen to what the country manager, Alex MacDonald has to say.

“…We remain committed to our employees and we want to thank them for holding firm with us while we went through this”.

“Thank them for holding firm”.. ha ha. This is the same person that signed the letters and was adamant that they would not be withdrawn. Does he even know the staff members that were being sent home, or did he just sign letters blindly on orders from London??

He further stated “We referred the matter to the board of directors and we were encouraged by their thoughts on the matter and they authorised us to withdraw the letters…. Question is, where were the board of directors all along? Why were they “referred to” at the eleventh hour?

Also, if the board of directors were so enlightening and authorised LIME to take back the letters in their meeting on Monday, what was the purpose of yesterday’s 4 hour meeting chaired by the Prime Minister? We gather from the press that further talks have to take place today under the chairmanship of the Minister of Labour to decide how to reinstate the displaced employees, so that was not the major topic under discussion yesterday.

Is LIME really sincere about this or were they just backed into a corner?

We do know that if LIME was allowed to get away with this action after reporting a BD$65 million profit (2008-2009) following a BD$91 million 2007-2008 (and yes, it it Barbados dollars not US that is commonly knocked around in the press and on the radio), and BD$13 million for the first quarter of 2009 – 2010, other companies would have a great excuse to do go ahead with their own layoffs.

What happens now? …only time will tell.

January 18, 2009

VOB asleep at the wheeel – again!

Filed under: Business,Daily — simplebajan @ 7:22 pm
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Sometime ago, I wrote a post about VOB realised that updating it’s website on a regular basis is paramount to drawing traffic to it’s site. In a typical case of the “newness” having worn off, the VOB website is once again in a state of lethargy.

If the Local News page is to be believed, nothing significant has happened in Barbados between Friday and today, the 18th of January at 7:15pm.

Asleep at the wheel again

Asleep at the wheel again

Will they ever understand the power of the Internet?

January 17, 2009

“The Power of the Press” – Indeed

Filed under: Exposed,General — simplebajan @ 8:53 am

A recent article by Mr. Peter Simmons, published in the Sunday Sun of January 11th 2009, made me remember the old adage, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

In his article entitled, “Power of the Press”, Mr. Simmons, first mentions some other articles which were recently written by Dr. Leonard Shorey and Fay Ellington about the falling standard of Standard English and misspelling which occurs in the press.

Mr. Simmons then goes on to say “It is ironic that the Advocate, which carried the comments of both Dr Shorey and Ms Ellington, is recidivistic and guilty of repeatedly assaulting the English language and making elementary spelling and other mistakes”.

He then goes on to give 7 examples of errors made by the Advocate and later on says “When I read the Advocate these days I ask: Where have the proofreaders and sub-editors gone? Gone home to sleep, everyone?

Mr. Simmons, I can ask the same of the publication in which your article has appeared. I make an effort to read the Nation newspaper every day and wonder if you do the same. If so, how can you be critical of the Advocate when the Nation seems to be no better.

Readers, I make no claim to be an expert on the English language, so I will let you be the judge.

  • In the same article in which Mr. Simmons condemns the Advocate, when he mentions the name of Dr. Leonard Shorey and Fay Ellington, incorrect abbreviations are used when referring to these persons. Instead of having “Dr. Shorey and Ms. Ellington”, the period after the Dr and Ms are missing. How ironic.
  • In an article published on January 5, 2009 (page 11) which was a review of the popular “Singing Tree” presentation staged at the Peoples Cathedral, a paragraph in part reads “Those who had to settle for seats outside viewed the presentation on close circuit television…” It should read closed circuit television.
  • The past tense has been a regular victim of abuse by the Nation. How many times have we seen advance instead of advanced, escape instead of escaped (in the instance of escaped prisoner), and toss instead of tossed (in the case of tossed salad).
  • On Friday January 9th, (page 24) a caption under a photograph of an inspector checking under a PSV reads “This inspector left no stone unturned checking for any deficiencies in the Pine”. Hmm.. was the inspector checking the PSV or the Pine as suggested by the caption. And while the word deficiency could be used, a more appropriate word to work into the sentence would have been defective.
  • In the January 12th edition of the Barbados Business Authority (a publication by the Nation Publishing Company Ltd.) an article on page 3 refers to the president of the Barbados Bankers’ Association as Mr. OIiver (that reads capital O, capital I, iver, rather than Oliver) Jordan. In the same article, the word looses is used instead of loses i.e. “…the financial intuition looses…”
  • In the Saturday Sun of January 17th, the front page reads “It was a celebration yesterday at the Bridgetown Port as Barbados welcomed seven cruise ships in one day – the first time ever”. Yet both articles on the centre pages contradict this claim by stating “It was a first for the tourism calendar, since ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 to berth seven cruise liners at the Bridgetown Port…
  • On page 15 of the same publication, the article entitled “Crown rocks to Blunt” written by Wendy Burke tells us that after James Blunt left the stage and the fans called for more, “…he came back out and sang about three more songs”. How many songs was it, 2 or 3 or 4? – about three doesn’t cut it.
  • Lastly, the Nation seems to have coined a new abbreviation for time in the morning. Under Best Bets on page 18, we are invited to visit Harrison’s Caves where viewing begins at 9 ayem. I would also suggest that a more appropriate phrase would have been “…where tours begin”…please, leave the viewing for the funeral parlour.

January 1, 2009

The Barbados Water Authority needs to clean up it’s act

Filed under: General — simplebajan @ 3:26 pm

Over the last 3 weeks or so, there have been numerous repairs done to the water main along Enterprise Coast Road in Christ Church by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).

I am accustomed to the rubble left in the road and the usual 3 months of so, before it can be patched by the Ministry of Public Works, but what I saw on Friday has taken it to a new level.

At the far end of Enterprise Coast Road (away from Miami Beach), the BWA seemed to have replaced a large valve and left it thrown carelessly in the lot next to which the work was done.

Rubble

Rubble 2

Old valve left by the wayside

Old valve left by the wayside

Rally fans will remember an accident in which Roger Skeete and Dave Crawford were seriously injured some years ago and was caused in part by a water pipe which had been left carelessly in by the edge of the road at Three Houses.

Come on, BWA, who do you expect to pick up your garbage.  certainly not the SSA or the landowner??!!??  Please, clean up after yourselves.

December 21, 2008

Are Bajans preparing for ‘hard times’?

Filed under: General — simplebajan @ 9:00 pm

A quick trip from Oistins to Rendezvous tonight brought home a bit of reality.. Bajans seem to be preparing for the worst next year.  Amid calls by the Central Bank Governor to hold a little strain (although the Prime Minister has urged Bajans to spend), it was an erie feeling to travel that distance and see less than 10 houses with Christmas light displays.  Even few business houses have displays themselves.

Despite the BL&P’s assurance that  electricity would be cheaper this month, Barbadians seem to ensuring that they have enough to spill over into the New Year should things get rough as has been predicted in some quarters.

So while  some may splurge on creating scenes at their houses reminiscent of Disney theme parks , most Barbadians seem to putting a little away for a rainy day, which may be closer on the horizon than we might believe.

December 6, 2008

Is LIME leaving a sour taste in it’s customer mouths?

Filed under: Business,General — simplebajan @ 8:53 pm
Tags:

Here is some banter seen on the web.  You decide -

December 6

R is sooooo pissed with LIME right now. 3 days without ADSL at work is just LAME.

M
Makes you wonder if this is a sign of things to tcome

S
Perhaps if they invested the milions of dollars that have been and will be spent in this re-branding effort in providing a truly world class service with (*gasp) some real expertise and technical understanding….they would still make the profits and (*even bigger gasp) their customers might just also be (mostly) satisfied…..

M
I could sell ya some proper service wid TBB …..

N
R. Had the same problem. I went to Lime and got a new modem, the new contact centre doesnt seem to know whats going on. They kept telling me service was out in my area. I called 2925050 (friday) spoke to a tech who said if he resets it and it doesnt work bring in the modem. Surfing now again!!!

R
It probably is a sign of things to come D.

S, its the best case of regression in branding that i have ever seen. The public is not buying it AND the new visual identity and campaign is so wrong for the Caribbean market.

Thanks N, been there done that already. We got the new 2 weeks ago. The service really is off in my area this time.

P

thats because they went to an American ad firm in Ft Lauderdale – so much for reinvesting in the region and using and developing local talent. Just insulting

R

We have so many agencies here in the Caribbean that could do far better. Sh#* I have students at ….. that can better that. The fact that they approved and obviously paid good money for the concept, the campaign and piss poor execution is what baffles me more.

P
Jerry Springer mentality – you can just see the six figure a year annual mensa advert folks red team…..
“now what do all those people in the Caribbean have in common? “
>>>(bright young spark) “they do this thing called lemoning….no, liming, thats it! We’ll call it lime!!”
Now, what can lime stand for? Let’s see, hmmm line… landline, internet, mobile and ummmmm, energy? no, eggs?, no I got it entertainment”!!!!
And its an easy sell, coz they’re just third world folks…….
Yay!!!!!!! Now pay us six million dollars!!!

R
LOL!!!! Well said P

M
The thing is – at the chance of actually knowing a little about the telecoms market … been in s&m in Telco for 20 years! ,,, the advertising campaign that LIME have developed is a clear case of plagiarism….a few years ago in the UK market, a major cellphone distributor Carphone Warehouse bought a landline reseller – Opal and rebranded as talk-talk. They then ran a campaign almost identical to LIME’s in the sense of black backgrounds, cartoonish / grafittiish logos and wording, along with ‘packages’ for the consumer market. That is what LIME should have been – residential/consumer led as a sub brand of C&W or some other corporate entity. The whole move should be to as far removed from the term lime as possible – particularly in the corporate space – as clearly they are now being tarnished with the LIME brush … ie soon come, relaxed, let’s have a chill-out …. interesting times.

PSVs behaving badly.. as usual

Filed under: Daily,Our Road Network and Traffic — simplebajan @ 9:18 am
Tags: , ,

President of the Association of Public Service Vehicle Operators, Mr. Morris Lee, needs to get out on the street and see what his members are up to. While we imagine that his attempts to convince the public that it is only a few drivers that conduct themselves in a manner which is unfit for the public roads, those few are putting people’s lives at risk for a few dollars.

Let the pictures tell the story and keep posted this blog.

ZR55 Off route

ZR55 Off route

PSV2

Can't wait

Can't wait

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ZR55 gets into the mix

ZR55 gets into the mix

The driver of the Vitara was not to be left out of the "Reverse Jambust" either! Shame on her

The driver of the Vitara was not to be left out of the "Reverse Jambust" either! Shame on her

No more Bush!

Filed under: General — simplebajan @ 8:07 am

No, not George W!! We are referring to statements made last weekend by the new Minster of health, the Hon. Donville Inniss, who warned landowners that the Ministry was going to get tough on those allow their lands to get overgrown with grass and bush.

Unable to see around this sweeping corner

Unable to see around this sweeping corner

An excellent hiding placed for prowlers

An excellent hiding placed for prowlers

The current modus operandi, is that government will determine spots that need to be cleaned, charge 7 cents a square foot (according to the Minster) and then add the final charge on to the land tax.

We am not sure how well this system works, but believe that the land tax billing allows too much time to pass before government can recover their funds. As we well know, land tax can remain unpaid for a number of years without any repercussions. This means that the government must pay the subcontractors who clean the land, and then possibly go for 5 years or more before the payments are collected.

While there are some landowners who attempt to keep their lands clean, their are many, particularly the absentee owners, who don’t look back. Some of them may not even remember where their plot of land is located.

So we are residents in the neighbourhoods, suffer in many:

• We have to put up with the mosquitoes and rodents that breed in the bushes
• Some are afraid to walk at night or keep their windows and doors open past a certain time for fear of prowlers hiding undercover of the overgrowth.
• Some unscrupulous persons use these overgrown lots as their personal trash bins
• During the dry season, these lots can be extremely dangerous if burnt
• In some areas driving becomes hazardous, as you are unable to see pedestrians especially children who may be walking or riding around the neighbourhood
• In frustration, neighbours pull their own pockets to have spots cleaned for peace of mind
• As taxpayers, we end up paying through the Ministry of Health to have lots cleaned

If government cleans up spots, they need to collect their monies quickly, and as such should place this portfolio under a statuary board, the National Conservation Commission and Sanitation Service Authority come to mind, which should already have processes for month billing. Once lots are cleaned, the owners are billed immediately, and non-payment means that the lands can be ceased by the government until full payment has been received.

We need to take the health of the island seriously, and while we need foliage to supply balance in the environment, overgrown lots are a more of a nuisance and health risk than a benefit.

Government also needs to take a serious look at how the road weeding program works (or doesn’t). How is it that after over 30 years (as far as we can remember), there is no coordination between the weeding and the collection of the weed grass? Grass sits for weeks and sometimes months before it is collected. And most of those cases, acts as a rich compost heap for new weeds, or washes down into the drains during a downpour causing blockages.

Maybe the new Ministry of Drainage will place this on his radar.

Cases in point in Maxwell Hill

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